The 6 Best Over-the-Counter Yeast Infection Medicines of 2021

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Yeast infections are common, and most women will experience at least one in their lifetime. They generally don’t progress into more serious conditions, but coming down with one is no picnic.

As such, it’s important to separate fungal fact from fiction. For starters, both men and women can get yeast infections and they can occur in many places other than the vagina.

“Most vaginal yeast infections are caused by a common fungus, Candida albicans, which typically lives in your genital and GI tract,” says Barbara Frank, an OB/GYN and medical advisor to Attn: Grace. “Having this fungus in the body is totally normal and only when it becomes overactive does it cause issues. People become symptomatic when an overgrowth of the organism, typically Candida, penetrates the superficial layers of the skin.”

Yeast infection symptoms include intense itching, burning, and redness around the area. Vaginal yeast infections often come with a thick, white discharge similar in appearance to cottage cheese, as well. None of it is pleasant, so quick, effective treatment is key. “Also to be clear, yeast infections are not sexually transmitted and a male partner does not need treatment after having intercourse with a woman with an active yeast infection,” says Dr. Frank.

Thankfully, no matter where they crop up, the symptoms can usually be treated with the same antifungal cream (a.k.a. yeast-killing creams) used for vaginal yeast infections. However, if the infection spreads to a larger area or you’re one of the few women that experiences them frequently, a doctor’s visit and an oral prescription medication may be necessary.

If you're looking for OTC relief, here are some of the best yeast infection treatments on the market today.

Our Top Picks
Tough on yeast but gentle on sensitive skin, so the burning or discomfort often experienced with strong treatments is avoided.
It offers immediate pain relief and works to improve overall vaginal health, balancing pH, and eliminating odors.
These easy to swallow capsules go one step further to help prevent future infections.
This cream comes out on top for its fast-acting yeast infection relief and instant soothing power.
The active ingredient is clotrimazole, which research shows is effective at fighting infections caused by yeast and bacteria.
It’s tough on yeast and other fungi, yet gentle enough for use around the groin.

Best Overall: Monistat 1-Day Yeast Infection Treatment

Monistat
Pros
  • Tough on attacking yeast, but gentle on the surrounding skin

  • Won’t cause additional burning that other strong treatments can cause

  • Relief is quick: generally starts working within three days

Cons
  • There’s only one dose so if problems continue you may need to purchase additional products

  • May cause uncomfortable itching

This single-dose, pre-filled applicator contains 6.5 percent Tioconazole ointment, which is a clinically proven antifungal treatment and effective at quickly treating yeast infections. It’s tough on yeast but gentle on sensitive and irritated skin in the surrounding area, so the burning or discomfort often experienced with strong treatments is avoided.

Reviewers say relief is quick—within three days or less—and are quick to recommend it for others dealing with yeast infections. Tioconazole has been shown to be an effective treatment for yeasts and certain types of bacteria, according to research.

Active Ingredients: Tioconozole 300mg (6.5%) | Dose: One dose treatment | Uses: To treat yeast infections

Expert Insight

"Sometimes people think it’s yeast, but it’s not. It could be bacterial vaginosis, which requires a prescription to get rid of and is usually a runny, thin, grey, fish-smelling discharge. It does not need to be treated unless it's bothering you or you are pregnant and have a history of premature baby.  It could also be a sexually transmitted infection (chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, etc)."

Sophia Yen, M.D., MPH, the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health, the only women-founded, women-led, doctor-led birth control delivery service

Best Suppository: NutraBlast Boric Acid Suppositories

NutraBlast Boric Acid Suppositories
Pros
  • Helps balance vaginal pH

  • No-mess application with suppository applicators

  • Natural, organic, and sustainable formula

Cons
  • Needs to be taken continuously for seven days

  • Won’t provide instant relief from itching or burning; this medication works slowly over time

Each vaginal suppository contains the recommended 600 milligrams (mg) of 100 percent pure boric acid powder to target and eliminate excess yeast at the source. It offers immediate pain relief and works to improve overall vaginal health, balancing pH, and eliminating odors. If preferred, suppository applicators are sold separately.

Active Ingredients: Boric acid powder 600mg | Doses: 30 | Uses: Supports healthy vaginal PH

Expert Insight

"For over the counter, they are all vaginal. You can't just treat the outside, otherwise it will not go away. There are creams vs. suppositories. I haven’t tried the suppositories personally, but I would think the creams would cover more surface area and thus might provide more topical relief if itching is a huge issue. You have to be comfortable sticking cream/suppository into your vagina. They work by killing the yeast, just like the prescription treatment does."

Sophia Yen, M.D., MPH, the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health, the only women-founded, women-led, doctor-led birth control delivery service

Best Preventative: YeastGard Advanced Yeast Gard Advanced Suppositories

YeastGard
Pros
  • Relieves a range of symptoms, including itching, burning, and irritation

  • People who suffer from frequent yeast infections may benefit from taking a pill daily

Cons
  • Product is homeopathic and not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • Provides temporary relief from yeast infection symptoms but will not cure an existing yeast infection

Probiotics and calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, and stone root aids combine in this daily supplement to relieve yeast infections internally. These easy-to-swallow capsules go one step further to help prevent future infections.

They relieve a range of yeast infection symptoms including itching, burning, and irritation without any mess. They also work to keep yeast and bacteria in check to prevent future infections.

Because it’s a homeopathic product, it's not evaluated or regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so be sure to consult a medical professional before starting a supplement regime.

Active Ingredients: Collinsonia Canadensis 3X* HPUS** (Stone Root), Kali Muriaticum 3X* HPUS** (Potassium Chloride), Calcarea Carbonica 6X* HPUS** (Calcium Carbonate) | Doses: 60 | Uses: Relieves yeast infection symptoms and helps prevent them

Best Cream: Vagisil Anti-Itch Creme

Vagisil Anti-Itch Creme
Pros
  • Fast-acting formula

  • Maximum strength available: contains 20% benzocaine, 3% resorcinol

Cons
  • Not regulated by the FDA

  • Should be taken with medical advice and guidance

  • Doesn’t rub in right away or dissolve easily into the skin

This cream comes out on top for its fast-acting symptom relief and instant soothing power. In addition to benzocaine and resorcinol, Vagisil Maximum Strength Anti-Itch also contains vitamin A, D, and E, as well as a patented odor block technology in the soothing, hypoallergenic formula.

Active Ingredients: Benzocaine (20%) | Doses: Multiple | Uses: To relieve itch symptoms due to yeast infections

Expert Insight

"OTC creams were formerly available by prescription, and then, as is common, after the medication went generic, it went into the over the counter status.

Nevertheless, yeast doesn’t always respond to these medications as some varieties have developed resistance to them. There are also medications available as OTC therapies which have no therapeutic action against yeast, only containing substances that reduce itching and burning. Such products serve only to mask symptoms and not to address the agent causing the symptoms, typically Candida albicans, the most common yeast species causing vaginal yeast infections.

Benzocaine, resorcinol, and hydrocortisone are ingredients that soothe the symptoms."

Felice Gersh, M.D. is an award-winning OB/GYN and founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, in Irvine, CA and the author of PCOS SOS Fertility Fast Track

Best Budget: Clotrimazole 3 Day Vaginal Cream

Vaginal Cream
Pros
  • Contains 2% clotrimazole, an antifungal medication which kills yeast at the site

  • Comes with three disposable applicators so you can repeat your use of the cream as necessary

  • Works to cure yeast infections, rather than just mask the pain

Cons
  • Treatment can be messy

  • Not a name brand  formula that’s been evaluated by the FDA

This box includes not one but two regimens, just in case, and it’s still easier on the wallet than a single dose of competitors’ meds. It’s a budget buy, but it’s no less effective than pricier options. The thicker cream stays put and absorbs well to calm burning and itching quickly.

Most customers reported the product working better than other antifungals they’ve previously tried and calmed itching instantly. The active ingredient is clotrimazole, which research shows is effective at fighting infections caused by yeast and certain bacteria.

Active Ingredients: Clotrimazole (2%) | Doses: 3 | Uses: To cure existing yeast infection

Expert Insight

"Generally, you want something ending in “-azole”—specifically clotrimazole or miconazole. Potential side effects could include irritation and local burning,"

Sophia Yen, M.D., MPH, the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health, the only women-founded, women-led, doctor-led birth control delivery service

Best for Men: Lotrimin AF Jock Itch Antifungal Cream

Lotrimin AF Jock Itch Antifungal Cream
Pros
  • Will kill fungus on site since it contains clotrimazole

  • Easy to use cream: just apply directly to the uncomfortable area

  • Relieves burning, itching, and irritation

Cons
  • Can be expensive; packaging only contains .42 oz of product

  • Not regulated by the FDA

For men dealing with yeast infections, a cream tends to be easy to apply exactly where it’s needed. “Men can also get yeast infections in the glans of the penis (more likely if uncircumcised) or in the groin folds, but it is much less common,” says Dr. Frank. “Topical treatment is similar. However, it is usually for a longer period of time.”

This antifungal cream is marketed for a general jock itch, but reviewers say it relieves itching, burning, and other symptoms of yeast infections. It’s tough on yeast and other fungi, yet gentle enough for use around the groin. The active ingredient is one percent clotrimazole, which is a strong antifungal. Reviewers also note it works quickly to cure symptoms and wasn’t bothersome at all.

Active Ingredients: Clomitrazole (1%) | Doses: Multiple | Uses: Relieves itching and burning

Final Verdict

Relief doesn’t require a long wait with the fast-acting Monistat 1-Day Vaginal Antifungal (view at Amazon). Alternatively, NutraBlast Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories (view at Amazon) get rave reviews from customers that say it does the trick when other medications fall short.

If you suspect it’s not being treated, you may be immune to the antifungal or it’s another issue that’s not a yeast infection, like an STD, bacterial vaginosis, or something else. 

“Self-diagnosis of yeast infections is not great,” says Dr. Frank. “Your yeast infection should start to improve after a few days of treatment. If you complete treatment and you are still uncomfortable or if your symptoms worsen significantly, you should call your doctor. The good news is if it is a yeast infection, the cure rates exceed 90 percent.”

If symptoms persist, see a medical professional for diagnosis and prescription treatment.

What to Look for in Yeast Infection Treatments

Dosage:

Dosage instructions are usually printed clearly on product boxes or packaging. However, Dr. Frank notes that you can use dosages depending on the severity of your symptoms. “The vaginal treatment can be for one, three, or seven days depending on the severity of your symptoms.” says Dr. Frank. “Most people tolerate the oral treatment much better, and it has the added benefit of being much cheaper than over the counter.”

However, Felice Gersh, M.D., OB/GYN, founder of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, in Irvine, CA and author of PCOS SOS Fertility Fast Track, notes that if you don’t see immediate relief (within one to three days), you should contact a doctor immediately. “Naturally, OTC therapies will not work when the diagnosis is incorrect. Also, OTC therapies will not work well if the yeast is a resistant strain to the medication. When that happens, it’s time to switch to an alternative therapy—whether from the OTC to the oral medication, or the other way,” she says. 

Active Ingredients:

There are a variety of active ingredients found ineffective yeast infection treatments. “Effective treatment for a yeast infection is typically a type of antifungal,” says Dr. Frank. “Those usually end in -azole, such as fluconazole (for oral treatments) or miconazole (for topical treatments).” She adds that prescription topical medications may also have steroids to help ease inflammation and related discomfort.

Dr. Gersh adds, “Medications that only address the symptoms of burning and itching, include the ingredients benzocaine (a numbing agent), resorcinol, and sometimes hydrocortisone (a mild steroid),” she says. “There is an OTC local anesthetic cream containing benzocaine five percent and resorcinol two percent,” so if you’re looking for something to numb symptoms fast, look for a combination of those two ingredients. 

Additionally, “mineral oil is an ingredient and may help as a soothing ingredient,” notes Dr. Gersh. Benzocaine, resorcinol, and hydrocortisone are ingredients that soothe the symptoms. 

Form:

Here’s where yeast infection medications can get confusing. There are so many different options of yeast infection treatments, including, inserts, creams, and oral pills. If you’ve never had a yeast infection before or don’t have any experience taking these medications, something like an insert may be intimidating. If you’re experiencing extreme itch or burning, a cream might sound immediately soothing.

“The most popular varied treatments include vaginal creams and suppositories and oral tablets,” says Dr. Gersh. “Comparing the vaginal therapies to the oral ones, both work fairly well. Unfortunately, there are now resistant strains of yeast that no longer respond well to either therapy.”

Though uncommon, it is possible for men to get yeast infections as well. Dr. Frank says that this can happen “in the glans of the penis (more likely if uncircumcised) or in the groin folds, but it is much less common.” If this is the case there are certain products for men to manage yeast infection symptoms. Look for products that advertise as relieving “jock itch,” or burning, itching, chafing, etc. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does yeast infection medication delay your period?

    Not inherently, but if you get stressed out about it, the stress can delay your period, according to Dr. Yen.

  • Can you take yeast infection medication if you’re not sure if you have a yeast infection?

    "I do not recommend it. Your vagina has natural yeast and bacteria that coexist in harmony. You should only use yeast infection medication when the yeast gets out of control. If you use it when the yeast is in harmony, the medication will kill the yeast, and the bacteria may take over, causing bacterial vaginosis," says Dr. Yen.

  • Can you drink alcohol while taking yeast infection medication?

    You can drink alcohol while using yeast infection medication vaginally. However, if you are using the prescription oral medication for yeast infection (metronidazole), you should not drink alcohol with it, otherwise you risk a disulfiram reaction (nausea, vomiting, etc.), according to Dr. Yen.

What Experts Say

“Yeast infection treatments can be taken either orally or vaginally and they tend to have the same success rate. The vaginal treatment can be for one, three, or seven days depending on the severity of your symptoms. Most people tolerate the oral treatment much better, and it has the added benefit of being much cheaper than over the counter.”

—Barbara Frank, an OB/GYN and medical advisor to Attn: Grace

"Serious allergic reactions aren’t common but if you do experience symptoms, make sure to get medical help right away. These types of symptoms include severe dizziness, trouble breathing, rash, and itching/swelling (specifically in the throat, tongue or face)."

Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health, the only women-founded, women-led, doctor-led birth control delivery service

Why Trust Verywell Health?

As a seasoned health writer, Jennifer Nied understands how vital quality product recommendations are for treating symptoms safely and effectively at home. For over 10 years, she has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.

Additional reporting to this story by Brittany Leitner 

As a health writer with over 8 years of experience, Brittany Leitner understands how important access to information is when it comes to making educated health decisions. She has interviewed dozens of medical experts, tested out hundreds of products, and aims to provide quality recommendations that won't break the bank.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaginal candidiasis. Updated December 17, 2019.

  2. Haefner HK. Recalcitrant and recurrent candidiasis and bacterial vagninosis. University of Michigan.

  3. Crowley PD, Gallagher HC. Clotrimazole as a pharmaceutical: past, present and futureJ Appl Microbiol. 2014;117(3):611-617. doi:10.1111/jam.12554