The 7 Best Over-the-Counter Yeast Infection Medicines of 2020

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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.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Monistat 1-Day Vaginal Antifungal

Monistat

This single-dose, pre-filled applicator contains 6.5% 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% 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.

Reviewers say the effects are immediate and admittedly messy. “Honestly, you can physically see it working. The capsule dissolved and pulls out the discharge with it! And you will notice results in as little as one day,” one customer wrote. Another customer raved, “One thing I love about these pills is that they don't only work to fight the infection but they literally make your vagina feel like it should.”

Best Preventative: YeastGard Advanced Homeopathic Capsules

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 (20%) and resorcinol (3%), Vagisil Maximum Strength Anti-Itch also contains patented odor block technology in the soothing, hypoallergenic formula.

Satisfaction is guaranteed according to the label and many customers say that’s exactly what’s in the tube. “This cream is very moisturizing and soothes all my itches down there. Love this cream and it's the only one that I will ever use on myself.”

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. One reviewer wrote, “This product brought blessed, sweet relief.”

Another buyer explained in a lengthy positive review, "This worked wonderfully…This 3-day clotrimazole was great even on my sensitive body... I had zero side effects, only relief.” It’s worth noting that the cream comes in a small tube with disposable applicators for precise application, but some women say they found the applicator difficult to use.

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 2%.

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 1% 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.

“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%.”

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

What To Look For In Yeast Infection Treatments:

Application: Yeast infection treatments come in multiple forms, including oral, suppository, and topical creams. “Yeast infection treatments can be taken either orally or vaginally and they tend to have the same success rate,” says Dr. Frank. “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.”
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.

An alternative is boric acid, which is a compound that is also used to kill insects, and it can also eliminate the “bugs” creating an imbalance in the vagina. It works by killing both the yeast and the bacteria to essentially reset the ecosystem of the vagina.

Preventive Measures: There are healthy habits that you can include in your routine to decrease risk of yeast infection. “There is some evidence that there are triggers for women, like excess beer or refined sugar products, which can lead to yeast infection, but this has never been proven,” says Dr. Frank.

 Still, your own at-home routine makes a difference in how effective a treatment is and how likely a yeast infection is. “Good vulvar hygiene is key,” says Dr. Frank. “Yeast thrives in warm, moist environments, so wear cotton undies (cotton is breathable and absorbent), no thongs, use mild detergents and soaps, and avoid douching.” She also advises warm baths with only water and sleeping commando to allow a breeze.

Why Trust Verywell

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.

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Article Sources
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  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