Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Yeast infection treatment depends on whether you have an uncomplicated or a complicated infection.

Uncomplicated yeast infection

For mild to moderate symptoms and infrequent episodes of yeast infections, your doctor might recommend:

  • Short-course vaginal therapy. Antifungal medications are available as creams, ointments, tablets and suppositories. An antifungal regimen that lasts one, three or seven days will usually clear a yeast infection. A number of medications have been shown to be effective, including butoconazole (Gynazole-1), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Monistat 3), and terconazole (Terazol 3). Some of these are available by prescription only, while others are available over-the-counter. Side effects might include slight burning or irritation during application. You may need to use an alternative form of birth control. Because the suppositories and creams are oil-based, they could potentially weaken latex condoms and diaphragms.
  • Single-dose oral medication. Your doctor might prescribe a one-time, single oral dose of the antifungal medication fluconazole (Diflucan). Or, you may take two single doses three days apart to manage severe symptoms.
  • Over-the-counter treatment. Over-the-counter antifungal vaginal suppositories and creams are effective for many women, and these are a safe choice during pregnancy. Treatment usually lasts from three to seven days.

Make a follow-up appointment with your doctor if symptoms don't resolve after treatment, or if they return within two months of treatment.

Complicated yeast infection

Treatment for a complicated yeast infection might include:

  • Long-course vaginal therapy. A treatment regimen of azole medications for seven to 14 days can successfully clear a yeast infection. Medication is usually vaginal cream, ointment, tablet or suppository.
  • Multidose oral medication. Your doctor might prescribe two or three doses of fluconazole to be taken by mouth instead of vaginal therapy. However, this therapy isn't recommended for pregnant women.
  • Maintenance plan. For recurrent yeast infections, your doctor might recommend a medication routine to prevent yeast overgrowth and future infections. Maintenance therapy starts after a yeast infection is cleared with treatment. You may need a longer treatment of up to 14 days to clear the yeast infection before beginning maintenance therapy. Therapies may include a regimen of oral fluconazole tablets once a week for six months. Some doctors prescribe clotrimazole as a vaginal suppository used once a week instead of an oral medication.

Your sex partner probably won't need to be treated for a yeast infection. If you have recurrent yeast infections, your doctor might recommend treating your partner if your partner has symptoms of a genital yeast infection (balanitis) or using condoms during intercourse.

Sept. 18, 2015