How to Apply Vaginal Cream

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If you've been given a prescription for vaginal cream, it's important that you apply it properly, so you can get the best therapeutic effects.

Some types of vaginal cream are prescribed to treat an infection, and hormonal vaginal cream may be prescribed during certain times of your life, such as after menopause or during breastfeeding when low estrogen levels can cause vaginal dryness.

Here are step-by-step instructions for vaginal cream application.

How to Apply Vaginal Cream
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

When to Apply Vaginal Cream

Using vaginal cream is easiest if it's done before going to bed. This will help the medicine stay in place and prevent daytime discharges. If you need to apply it more than once a day, check the instructions for the timing of your applications.

You may want to wear a panty liner if you are not going to be going to bed immediately after applying the cream. Do not use a tampon when you are using vaginal cream because it can absorb the drug.

Consider setting reminders for yourself so you don't forget to apply your vaginal cream. If you missed a dose, check the instructions to see what to do in case of a missed dose, and if this information isn't provided with your prescription, call your pharmacist to ask.

If you are using an antibiotic cream to treat bacterial vaginosis, use it exactly as prescribed and never stop early, even if your symptoms resolve. Incomplete treatment increases the risk of antibiotic resistance, making the infection harder to treat in the future.

How to Apply Vaginal Cream

To apply vaginal cream, you will need a towel. soap, and water.

Prepare

Find a comfortable place where you can lie down while applying the cream. Your bed can be an ideal option, though you may want to place a towel underneath you to prevent any cream from spilling on your linens.

Steps

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Open the tube.
  3. Screw the applicator nozzle onto the tube until it is secure but not overly tight.
  4. Gently squeeze the tube from the bottom to push a sufficient amount of cream into the applicator barrel. Make sure it is enough to reach the prescribed dose. Most applicators provide markings to indicate where you should stop.
  5. Unscrew the applicator from the tube.
  6. Lie on your back with your knees drawn toward you.
  7. Gently insert the applicator deep into your vagina.
  8. Press the plunger down until it reaches its original position.
  9. Wash your hands with soap and water after applying the cream.

Note, if you are pregnant, insert the applicator gently and don't insert it past the point where you feel resistance.

Cleaning the Applicator

Reusable applicators should be cleaned by pulling the plunger to remove it from the barrel and washing it with mild soap and warm water. Wipe it dry and allow it to air dry while disassembled. You can assemble it to store away once it is dry, such as in the morning if you are using it before bedtime.

Never boil your reusable applicator or use extremely hot water, as this can cause the plastic to melt or deteriorate.

If you are using vaginal cream to treat an infection, you should discard the applicator once you have finished your course of treatment. The used applicator could transfer yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms if you were to reuse it in the future.

Never share a vaginal applicator with others, even if it has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Doing so risks the inadvertent transmission of bacteria and other organisms from one person to the other.

Storage and Expiration

Most vaginal creams should be stored at room temperature. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about storing your vaginal cream.

Many prescription creams are intended for one use only and are not meant to be saved. Check with your healthcare provider if unsure.

If using a vaginal cream saved from before, check the expiration date. Dispose of it if it has expired.

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