The 7 Best Over-the-Counter Yeast Infection Medicines of 2021

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First Look

Best Overall: Monistat 1-Day Vaginal Antifungal at Amazon

"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."

Best Suppository: NutraBlast Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories at Amazon

"It offers immediate pain relief and works to improve overall vaginal health, balancing pH, and eliminating odors."

Best Preventative: YeastGard Advanced Homeopathic Capsules at Amazon

"These easy to swallow capsules go one step further to help prevent future infections, and as a result the product has garnered loyal customers."

Best Cream: Vagisil Maximum Strength Instant Anti-Itch Vaginal Crème at Amazon

"This cream comes out on top for its fast-acting yeast infection relief and instant soothing power."

Best Budget: Clotrimazole 3-Day Vaginal Cream at pharmapacks.com

"The active ingredient is clotrimazole, which research shows is effective at fighting infections caused by yeast and certain bacteria."

Best for Itchiness: Monistat Combination Pack at Amazon

"This maximum strength antifungal insert not only cures most vaginal yeast infections with only one application, it also comes with an external anti-itch cream."

Best for Men: Lotrimin Ultra Antifungal Jock Itch Cream at Amazon

"It’s tough on yeast and other fungi, yet gentle enough for use around the groin."

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.”

Additionally, yeast infections can occur in almost any place on the skin that’s moist. That means feet in contact with sweaty socks or shoes are susceptible, as well as the mouth, breasts, esophagus, and penis. If the yeast is already present, bodily fluids create a moist and welcome environment for yeast to grow and multiply.

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

Best Overall: Monistat 1-Day Vaginal Antifungal

Monistat

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.

Best Suppository: NutraBlast Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories

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.

Best Preventative: YeastGard Advanced Homeopathic Capsules

YeastGard

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, and as a result, the product has garnered loyal customers.

These capsules 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. One wrote, “Been taking 1 pill every day for at least 3 years and haven't suffered from a yeast infection since I started. I used to get them frequently and was determined to find something to prevent recurrences.” Other customers simply call it a "lifesaver"—it’s that effective.

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.

Best Cream: Vagisil Maximum Strength Instant Anti-Itch Vaginal Crème

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.

Best Budget: Clotrimazole 3-Day Vaginal Cream

Vaginal Cream

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.

Best for Itchiness: Monistat Combination Pack

This maximum strength antifungal insert not only cures most vaginal yeast infections with only one application, but it also comes with an external anti-itch cream for use on the vulva. The ovule insert contains 1200 mg Miconazole Nitrate and the cream contains the same ingredient at two percent.

Not everyone can tolerate the high dose of the antifungal ingredient and some women noted a temporary burning sensation, but most reviews focused on the convenience and quick relief of all symptoms within 48 hours or less. One wrote, “No goopy mess for me, and there’s absolutely no burning or itching."

The quicker you neutralize the yeast, the quicker the itch also disappears. "By reducing the amount of the over-active yeast, which is causing the irritation to the skin, the itch also disappears,” says Dr. Frank. “Some topicals ordered by your doctor may have a steroid in it which can help with inflammation and therefore also decrease the itchiness.”

Best for Men: Lotrimin Ultra Antifungal Jock Itch Cream

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.

Final Verdict

Relief doesn’t require a long wait with the fast-acting Monistat 1-Day Vaginal Antifungal. Alternatively, NutraBlast Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories 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. 

Sophia Yen, M.D., MPH, and the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health, a doctor-led birth control delivery service agrees. She also says you should see a doctor if you have recurring yeast infections (vs. continuing to manage through OTC treatments), if you are pregnant, have diabetes, or are immunosuppressed.

“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,” says Dr. Yen. 

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. 

“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

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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