Vaginal Yeast Infection Treatments

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Question

Are there any treatments for a vaginal yeast infection?

Answer

Over-the-counter vaginal yeast infection treatments

Over-the-counter medications for vaginal yeast infections are available as tablets suppositories, and creams that are inserted into the vagina. Cream products are also available to apply to the outside of the vagina, the best way to sooth external burning or irritation. All the creams and suppositories available are similar (the generics are just as good as the brand). Most of these products are available in one-, three-, or seven-day treatment options.

The choice of an over-the-counter product depends on your preference for cream versus tablet, length of treatment and cost. Examples of these products include clotrimazole and miconazole (Monistat®).

It is best to talk to a doctor or pharmacist first when using these medications. Be aware that antifungal medications can interact with many common prescription medications such as warfarin (Coumadin® ). If your symptoms don't improve within three days after using an over-the-counter product, you should contact your physician. This may be a sign that you have a medical problem other than a yeast infection.

Prescription treatment options

If over-the-counter treatments are not working, your doctor may prescribe a prescription antifungal medication, such as fluconazole (Diflucan®), a one-dose oral tablet. However, oral antifungal treatments are not recommended for pregnant women. Certain prescription vaginal creams and suppositories are available that are similar to the OTC vaginal antifungal treatments.

Alternative therapies for vaginal yeast infections

Acidophilus (lactobacillus acidophilus)-a bacterium naturally occurring in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and vagina-can help prevent the growth of fungus and has been used to prevent vaginal yeast infections. Live acidophilus can be found in "live culture" yogurt and in capsule, powder, and liquid forms. To prevent vaginal yeast infections, you can take live acidophilus by mouth or use it vaginally. Acidophilus has not been shown to cure yeast infections. Nor has it been shown to prevent yeast infections in the mouth.

If you are taking antibiotics and want to use acidophilus, wait at least two hours between taking the two products.

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