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Two things that are definitely true about yeast infections: They strike the vast majority of women at some point, and they really f*cking suck.
There’s always some yeast hanging around your vag. In fact, a little bit is a good thing for keeping the overall ratio of good to bad bacteria in check! But sometimes the yeasties get a little overeager and start multiplying like rabbits. The result is a yeast infection, aka vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Yeast infections can happen any time the natural pH of your downstairs gets thrown off. Sometimes it’s just a hormone thing, but it can also happen as a result of taking antibiotics or birth control, having a weakened immune system, being pregnant, or having diabetes. FUN.
Chances are you’ll know something’s up by a burning or itching sensation down there that gets worse instead of better (esp when you pee). Your vag might look redder than usual or smell different, and you might even have white or clumpy discharge.
The good news is that yeast infections are often pretty easy to treat at home, usually with an over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal med.
But it’s important to get checked out by a medical pro first, since yeast infection symptoms are often mistaken for other issues — like bacterial vaginosis or an STI — that require different treatments. (Plus, using meds to deal with a yeast infection when you don’t actually have one could cause your body to become resistant to the meds.)
If you know for sure that a yeast infection is what you’re dealing with, try one of these go-to treatments.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$20
- $$$ = over $20
You don’t really want to mess around with treating an infection, right? So we stuck with tried-and-true treatment options containing active ingredients — namely antifungals — that have been proven effective and safe for yeast infections and earned the green light from board certified gynecologists.
Basically, we did our due diligence here. So please, please do yours by consulting a gyno before self-treating for a yeast infection.
They can run through your symptoms to confirm you’ve got the right diagnosis and make sure the treatment you’re considering is the best option for you. TY! 🙌
Most OTC yeast infection treatments rely on antifungals to fight yeast overgrowth and bring your bacteria back into balance. But some other options can also be helpful, especially as possible preventive remedies to keep yeast in check and stop infections from coming back.
Best overall yeast infection remedy
Monistat contains the antifungal ingredient miconazole, which is the gold standard for treating yeast infections and relieving discomfort. Seven-day treatments actually deliver the same overall dose as 1- and 3-day treatments. It’s just spread out in smaller amounts over the course of the week, which some docs feel may be more effective.
“The one-day products seem to get a lot of incomplete cure,” says Megan Zaander, MD, a gynecologist in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
This cream is proven to work four times faster than prescription pills, can be used at night, and is safe to use during pregnancy (when yeast infections can be more common). And thanks to the included disposable applicators, it’s not messy.
Best budget yeast infection remedy
This cream has the same active ingredients in the same doses as Monistat, but it costs about half as much. Even so, most users agree it works just as well at easing the burning and itching and ultimately clearing up their infections.
Also nice: Each dose is packaged in an individual application tube, so there’s less mess and no worrying about divvying up the doses.
Best yeast infection remedy for itching
Sometimes it can take a day or two for an OTC yeast infection cream to really kick in and ease your discomfort.
This combo pack has a 7-day cream with 2 percent miconazole (the same amount that’s in Monistat and GoodSense), but it also comes with a pack of cooling anti-itch wipes with aloe and vitamin E to ease the burn ASAP. The wipes are individually wrapped, too, so they’re easy to toss in your bag and use wherever.
Best suppository for yeast infections
Not into a cream? Zaander’s also a fan of suppositories containing boric acid, a compound that helps balance vaginal pH and support the growth of healthy bacteria that can keep yeast in check.
“But I would definitely recommend women talk to their gynecologist first, as misuse can cause further vaginal irritation,” she says.
Also, an important FYI: Boric acid can be toxic if ingested. Avoid taking the suppositories orally and steer clear of receiving oral sex while you’re using them.
Best yeast infection preventive
Some research from 2013 suggests that oral probiotics could play a role in fighting yeast infections and keeping them at bay. Good bacteria like lactobacillus are thought to help promote a healthier vaginal microbiome overall, which might make you more resistant to yeast infections.
“Especially for my patients who deal with chronic vaginal infections, I recommend a daily probiotic,” Zaander says.
Uqora’s probiotic supplement contains bacterial strains that live in a healthy, happy vag, like Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus, plus prebiotics to help the bugs survive their journey through your body.
Much as you might like to cottagecore your way through a yeast infection, natural home remedies like yogurt, garlic, vinegar, and tea tree oil aren’t going to solve your problems.
In fact, using an unproven remedy instead of an OTC med might make the infection worse, since it gives the yeast more time to flourish and could potentially make your tissue more irritated.
“There’s no place for commercial yogurt or garlic in treating yeast infections. Douching with vinegar can actually increase the risk for other infections like bacterial vaginosis, and tea tree oil can actually kill friendly microbes,” explains Felice Gersh, MD, an OB/GYN and founder of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine in Irvine, California.
One home option that might actually be helpful? Coconut oil. Test-tube studies, at least, suggest that it can help fight the bad bacteria that cause yeast infections about as well as conventional antifungals.
But it’s far from a proven treatment. So if you want to give it a try, definitely talk with your gyno first. They might recommend using the coco to complement a proven antifungal treatment.
OTC antifungal creams containing miconazole are the gold standard for treating and curing yeast infections, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Talk with a medical professional before starting any treatment for a yeast infection, since it’s easy to mistake your symptoms for something else.