Candida is a yeast — also known as a fungus — that can grow in and on many body parts. Healthy people’s immune systems and good bacteria often stop candida growth from being a problem. In people who are sick, those whose immune systems don’t work well, or who take medicines to kill bacteria, candida can cause a yeast infection.
Yeast infections are no fun wherever they grow. Common symptoms of yeast infections include itchy and painful rashes.
Thankfully, yeast infection treatment often doesn’t require a prescription. Most yeast infections are easily treated at home with over-the-counter medicines.
What Medicines Treat Yeast Infections?
Antifungal medicines treat yeast infections. Depending on where the yeast infection is, treatment might include:
- Creams for the skin and vagina.
- Tablets to insert into the vagina.
- Pills treat many types of yeast infections.
Antifungal medicines are available at your local drug stores and online retailers. You don’t need a prescription.
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How to Take Medicine to Treat Yeast Infections?
Always follow the directions when using yeast infection medicine. Keep taking medicine even after feeling better. Stopping antifungal medicine early can leave traces of infection, and symptoms can return.
For inserted vaginal yeast infection treatments, read the instructions carefully. Directions often include a picture of how to insert the medicine into the vagina.
It’s best to use inserted vaginal antifungal medicines at night before bed. This reduces the chances that the treatment will leak out.
For vaginal yeast infections, different brands of ointments, creams, or suppositories have different dosing. Some are one dose, while others may be daily for up to seven days.
When taking a suppository, store them in a cool place to avoid melting. Prescription suppositories are often stored in the refrigerator. Read the label to find out, or ask a doctor or pharmacist.
Medicines for Yeast Infections
Different over-the-counter drugs treat various yeast infections, depending on where they happen.
On our skin
Yeast can grow in the folds of your skin; for example:
- Under the breast.
- Between fingers and toes.
Babies may also get yeast diaper rash from having wet diapers on for too long. These rashes can also affect older adults who wear disposable adult underwear.
In healthy people, yeast infections in the skin folds are typically easy to cure. To clear up a yeast infection in a skin fold and keep it from returning, keep these spots dry by:
- Using antiperspirant.
- Applying aluminum acetate solution. Brand names include Domebor, Pedi-Boro, and Gordon’s Boro Packs.
- Changing diapers and adult disposable underwear often.
Topical antifungal creams and powders can also treat yeast infections on the skin. Put these on the affected spots. They include:
Many brand-name drugs contain these medicines. A doctor or pharmacist can help you choose the right one.
If you have many infected skin folds, a doctor may put you on an oral medicine called fluconazole (Diflucan).
Yeast infection on the nails
Candidal paronychia is a yeast infection where your nails and skin meet. It occurs mainly in people whose hands are often wet, such as dishwashers or bartenders.
These infections are often difficult to treat, and at-home treatments don’t work well. Doctors often prescribe medicines such as corticosteroids or fluconazole to treat them.
Yeast infections on or around the vagina
Antifungal creams and ointments can treat vaginal yeast infections at home. Antifungal suppositories or tablets insert into the vagina also work well.
Pregnant people can take ointments and suppositories that contain miconazole or clotrimazole. There are many over-the-counter medicines to treat vaginal yeast infections. A doctor or pharmacist can suggest the right one for you.
Hard-to-treat vaginal yeast infections may need oral fluconazole (Diflucan) from a doctor. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Don’t take fluconazole while pregnant because it can cause congenital disorders.
Yeast infections in the mouth
Thrush is another word for a yeast infection in the mouth. It causes white patches on the tongue and mouth lining. When cases are mild, regular brushing and flossing may help.
In adults, thrush is often treated with oral fluconazole. Gargling with liquid nystatin may also help. Gargle the mouthwash for as long as possible and then spit it out.
Liquid nystatin treats thrush in babies. Apply it with a finger or cotton swab to the cheek pouches inside the baby’s mouth. Check with your baby’s doctor or pediatrician before to find out whether it’s okay.
When to See the Doctor
Even though most yeast infections are easily treated at home, check in with a doctor if you think you have one. That’s the only way to diagnose a yeast infection. The doctor can rule out other infections or health issues causing your symptoms.
Other serious vaginal infections may have some of the same symptoms as yeast infections. Two out of three women who buy yeast infection medicine don’t have a yeast infection, according to the Office of Women’s Health. Instead, they have sexually transmitted infections or bacterial vaginosis.
Left untreated, these infections raise the chance of other health problems, including:
- Catching other sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV.
- Difficulties getting pregnant.
- Issues during pregnancy, such as premature delivery.
Doctors diagnose yeast infections by looking at the affected area. They may also take a scraping sample of the skin or residue. They’ll check the sample for the fungus that causes yeast infections under a microscope.
If you keep getting yeast infections, your doctor may run other tests to learn why. In some cases, frequent yeast infections indicate another health issue.
In some people, an untreated yeast infection may spread to the bloodstream and other organs. This can cause a severe infection and life-threatening infection known as systemic candidiasis. That’s why it’s crucial to treat any yeast infection fully.
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