Yeast infections can be cured with antifungal medicines in the form of creams, tablets, ointments, or suppositories that are inserted into the vagina. These medicines include butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, nystatin, tioconazole and terconazole. These products can be bought over-the-counter at the drug store or grocery store. Dr. Aguirre can also prescribe you a single dose of oral fluconazole.
Infections that do not respond to these medicines are becoming more common. Using antifungal medicines, when you don't really have a yeast infection, can boost your risk of getting a hard-to-treat infection in the future.
Is it safe to use over-the-counter medicines for yeast infections?
Yes, but it is important to talk to Dr. Aguirre first. Always call Dr. Aguirre before treating yourself for a vaginal yeast infection if:
- you are pregnant
- you have never been diagnosed with a yeast infection
- you are having repeat yeast infections
Studies show that two thirds of women who buy these products do not really have a yeast infection. Using these medicines incorrectly may lead to a hard-to-treat infection. Plus, treating yourself for a yeast infection, when you really have another kind of infection, may worsen the problem.
If you decide to use these over-the-counter medicines, be sure to read and follow the directions carefully. Some creams and inserts may weaken condoms and diaphragms.
If I have a yeast infection, does my sexual partner need to be treated?
Not unless he shows signs of a yeast infection. Rarely, men who have sex with women with yeast infections will get an itchy rash on their penis. If this happens, he should see his doctor.
What should I do if I get repeat yeast infections?
Call Dr. Aguirre. About five percent of women develop four or more vaginal yeast infections in one year. This is called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC). RVVC is more common in women with diabetes or weakened immune systems. Dr. Aguirre normally treats this problem with antifungal medicine for up to six months.
How can I avoid getting another yeast infection?
To help prevent vaginal yeast infections, try the following:
- Don't use douches.
- Avoid scented hygiene products like bubble bath, sprays, pads and tampons.
- Change tampons and pads often during your period.
- Don't wear tight underwear or clothes made of synthetic fibers.
- Wear cotton underwear and pantyhose with a cotton crotch.
- Change out of wet swimsuits and exercise clothes as soon as possible.
If you have repeat yeast infections, talk to Dr. Aguirre.