In the past, treatment for yeast infections with an antifungal medication typically would begin only after a diagnosis from a health care professional. Today, many over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications are available, including creams, ointments, suppositories or tablets. These medications include:
- butoconazole (Femstat 3)
- terconazole (Terazol)
- tioconazole (Monistat-1, Vagistat-1)
- miconazole (Monistat 7)
- clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin 3)
If you've never had a yeast infection before, or if you have fever, abdominal pain, foul-smelling discharge, are diabetic, HIV-positive, pregnant or nursing, you should be seen by your health care professional. Never use an OTC anti-yeast product when you are pregnant except with your health care professional's advice.
However, in general, it's acceptable to use OTC antifungal medication to treat your symptoms if you've had a yeast infection diagnosed by a health care professional before and you are now experiencing the same symptoms. The only difference between the various OTC medications now available is the length of treatment and cost. The shorter course of treatment is more convenient but often more expensive.
If you take medication to treat a yeast infection — OTC medication or prescription medication — be sure to take the full course of the prescription. Don't cut it short, even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may begin to improve before the infection is completely treated. Consult your health care professional if your symptoms fail to respond to OTC remedies or recur shortly after clearing up.