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If you have a vagina, you’ve probably experienced the hellishness that is a yeast infection at least once in your life. The itching, the burning, the shifting from side to side to scratch that impossible-to-soothe itch: UGH! 😭
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to kick a yeast infection to the curb. But you should bring up any annoying, uncomfy vag symptoms with a doctor, because the signs of a yeast infection are similar to those of other types of down-there probs.
Best yeast infection treatments
- Best budget treatment: Amazon Basic Care Miconazole Nitrate Vaginal Insert
- Best for external relief: FemiClear Vaginal Itch Cream
- Best telehealth option: PlushCare
- Best for prevention: Love Wellness Good Girl Probiotics
- Best combination treatment: Monistat 7-Day Yeast Infection Treatment
- Best single-dose vaginal insert: Vagistat Single Dose Applicator
Here are the criteria we used to pick the products below:
- Rave reviews. We selected only products that got props from reviewers. All the products below have high ratings from customers.
- Reputable companies. We chose products from well-known companies with a good reputation.
- Readily available. Accessibility is a top priority. Not everyone can get to a doctor’s office on a dime, so we chose products that are available online and probably at your local pharmacy too.
- Affordable. You shouldn’t have to shell out $$$$ to soothe a yeast infection, so we chose low cost products whenever possible.
- Expert input. We also got in touch with an expert to help us better understand how to treat a yeast infection.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $20–$50
- $$$ = over $50
Best budget yeast infection treatment
- Price: $
- Treatment type: antifungal cream insert
This inexpensive yeast infection treatment’s main active ingredient is miconazole nitrate, an antifungal agent. To use this 1-day antifungal treatment, you simply insert the product into your vagina. It also comes with an external antifungal cream to help relieve some of your uncomfiest symptoms.
Because the potent over-the-counter (OTC) yeast infection treatment is super concentrated, you have to apply it only once. There’s potential for side effects like burning, BUT reviewers say it’s effective at clearing up a yeast infection. Just be prepared to feel the fire. 🔥
Best for external yeast infection symptom relief
- Price: $
- Treatment type: external cream
This vaginal itch cream from FemiClear is meant to relieve external itching around the vagina, which is one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of a yeast infection. It contains natural ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and chamomilla that help soothe the vaginal area.
If you don’t like the idea of sticking an insert into your hoo-ha, an external cream like this one may be a good alternative. As with other vag-specific products, though, you may experience side effects like burning. Eek! And if you have a severe infection, this probably won’t do the trick to clear it up.
Best telehealth option for yeast infection treatment
- Price: $$$ (without insurance)
- Treatment type: virtual doctor’s visit
Not sure if you even have a yeast infection? Want a doc’s opinion but can’t easily get to a clinic or doctor’s office? PlushCare is a telehealth service that connects you with board certified docs right from the comfort of your home.
The company accepts a variety of insurance plans, but you can also access its services without insurance — an appointment without coverage costs $119. Once you chat with one of PlushCare’s doctors, they’ll determine whether you need a prescription, which they can send to your pharmacy or your home.
The best part about choosing to see a doc — either in person or via telehealth — is that they can prescribe you a medication called fluconazole, which is a pill you take by mouth. You usually need to take only one dose. If you’ve tried creams and inserts in the past and experienced not-so-pleasant side effects, fluconazole can be a lifesaver.
Best for yeast infection prevention
- Price: $$ (30-day supply)
- Treatment type: pills
Taking antibiotics can mess with the good bacteria in your body. So can a lot of other things, such as pregnancy, hormonal birth control, and health conditions like diabetes. Some people believe probiotics can help return the body’s bacterial balance to its status quo.
Most studies on probiotics for vaginal health are pretty old and use small sample sizes. Still, some research, including a small 2001 study, suggests probiotics might be able to combat bacteria imbalances in the vagina. At the very least, probiotics are unlikely to cause harm — but don’t expect them to be a miracle cure.
A quick word of caution: Talk with a healthcare professional before taking any type of supplement.
Best combination yeast infection treatment
- Price: $
- Treatment type: combination insert and cream
Dr. Vonne Jones, an OB-GYN based in Houston, Texas, says Monistat is one of the most common treatment options but adds that suppositories are pretty much equal in terms of effectiveness, regardless of brand name.
She recommends products with a longer treatment time for people who have had symptoms for at least a week, since a single-day treatment won’t be enough to reduce yeast at that point.
Plus, if a potent dose of antifungal cream leaves you screaming bloody murder, it’s better to try a 7-day OTC treatment like this one. It combines internal treatment with an external anti-itch cream to help relieve symptoms while the applicators work their magic.
The antifungal cream consists of miconazole nitrate, which can help clear up a yeast infection. Reviewers say the combo treatment works, but a handful of people still had painful burning when using the internal applicators.
Best single-dose vaginal insert yeast infection treatment
- Price: $
- Treatment type: single-dose insert
This yeast infection treatment from Vagistat is one dose and done. The applicator is pre-filled for easy application and contains tioconazole, an antifungal medication. The company recommends applying the insert at bedtime.
Reviewers say they experienced less burning with this medication than with products from other brands. But some people say they didn’t get any symptom relief from using it.
Here’s what you’ll need to consider before making your plan of action.
OTC or prescription
Think about whether you’re able to see a doc in person or via telehealth. If you can see a doc, you can get prescription treatment (fluconazole) that could potentially be covered by your insurance. Prescription fluconazole is also a good option if you’ve had bad side effects from using creams/inserts in the past.
If you can’t see a doc (or just don’t want to), you’ll have to stick to OTC options.
Single or multiple dose
Treatments that involve inserting an applicator into your vagina to apply medicated cream or ointment vary in strength. For example, an ultra-potent 1-day treatment might be more convenient than a 3- or 7-day product, but it’s also more likely to cause side effects like burning.
And remember Jones’ advice: If you’ve had symptoms for longer than a week, it’s a good idea to avoid 1-day treatments — they probably won’t work, and you might have a whole lotta burning for nothing.
Some creams and ointments contain all-natural ingredients, but they probably won’t do much to fully clear up a yeast infection. Choose an OTC product that contains antifungal ingredients like miconazole.
Internal or external treatment
Some people may not feel comfortable inserting an applicator. If you don’t want to insert an applicator into your vagina, opt for a cream-based treatment.
The symptoms of a yeast infection can seem similar to those of other vaginal health conditions such as bacterial vaginosis (BV), which can lead to complications if left untreated.
Some infections may even require prescription meds to clear up. A severe yeast infection might be more painful (ouch!) and cause redness and swelling of the vagina.
If you’re prone to yeast infections, you might be able to recognize the telltale signs and try to treat the infection at home using OTC meds. But Jones recommends seeing a doc if you’re getting yeast infections on the regular. Ditto if you’ve tried an OTC treatment and you’re still having symptoms.
If you use a store-bought treatment for a yeast infection, it’s pretty common to experience some discomfort and burning. But if that fire-like feeling doesn’t go away or gets worse, you should see a doctor to rule out an allergic reaction or injury.
Generally, if you have any unusual symptoms, it’s a good idea to get checked out. Happy vagina, happy life. That’s what they say, isn’t it?
How do I know if I have a yeast infection?
Of course, these symptoms might also be related to BV or another condition. But if you’ve recently taken antibiotics (or you’ve been sitting around in a wet bathing suit), it’s def possible you’ve got a yeast infection.
What causes yeast infections?
Anything that changes your vagina’s natural bacteria balance can cause a yeast infection. This includes things like:
- a weakened immune system
- hormonal changes
- less-than-stellar hygiene
Scented products like tampons or pads can also mess with the natural pH of your vagina, says Jones.
Can I treat a yeast infection myself?
The short answer? Yes. There are lots of OTC yeast infection treatments available.
But without a lab test to check for fungus, it’s impossible to know for sure whether the cause of that itching and burning is a yeast infection or something else. It’s best to find out for sure rather than trying a treatment you might not need.
Can I prevent yeast infections?
Yep. One way is to avoid taking antibiotics unless you absolutely have to. (Side note: If your doc prescribes antibiotics, you should take them. And take all of them. Don’t skip antibiotics just to avoid a yeast infection.)
Other things you can do:
- Don’t douche! 🚫🚫🚫
- Avoid using scented products around your vajayjay.
- Don’t sit around in sweaty or wet clothing.
- Wear breathable cotton undies.
- Clean your sex toys.
- Wipe from front to back.
- Take probiotics if you’re on antibiotics.
How long should you wait for sex after yeast infection treatment?
You probably won’t pass a yeast infection to your partner, but having sex when you have a yeast infection can be painful and feel not-so-good. So you’re probably better off skipping sexy time until you’re done with treatment or your infection is gone.
How long does a yeast infection last without treatment?
It can last for weeks without conventional treatment. Yeah, no thanks.
With OTC or prescription medications, your vagina will probably feel better within a week or less.
The itching and burning you’re experiencing? Probably a yeast infection. But if you’re not sure or OTC treatments don’t help at all, get in touch with a doc. It might be another condition or infection that requires prescription treatment.
Talk with a gyno about any vag-related symptoms that are unusual for you. Do you get yeast infections on the reg but don’t usually have this weird-colored discharge? Time to check in with the gyno.
Thankfully, most yeast infections are NBD. They clear up with OTC treatments and can even sometimes go away on their own. If you wanna see a doc about your vaginal discomfort but can’t get an appointment right away, you can also use itch creams for relief. Ahhhhh, that feels way better.