Over the Counter Yeast Infection Treatment – Exploring Your Choices
Have you recently been experiencing some of the uncomfortable and unattractive symptoms of vaginal yeast infection, including itching, burning and vaginal discharge?
Were you aware that there are several over the counter yeast infection remedies that may help to alleviate these symptoms in as little as 1-3 days?
Vaginal yeast infections can be unsettling to say the least, but in most cases, dealing with the symptoms they produce requires nothing more than over the counter anti-fungal treatments.
However, before you rush out to the local drug store and purchase one of these remedies, you must first be sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are indeed associated with a yeast infection and are not instead linked to some type of bacterial or viral contagion.
To make this determination a bit easier, in this article we will briefly discuss some of the common causes and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection, followed by a list of some of the more popular over the counter treatments.
Vaginal Yeast Infection : Causes and Symptoms
Yeast infections of the vagina are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida, specifically the Candida albicans species. This fungus is one of many microorganisms that make up the vaginal flora, and is joined by both harmful bacteria and friendly bacteria, the latter of which helps to ward off infection by keeping the bad bacteria and fungus in check.
But when something happens that disrupts this normal balance, something that destroys the friendly bacteria in the vagina, fungus, including the Candida albicans species, can become overgrown, resulting in a vaginal yeast infection.
There are several factors that could potentially lead to a disruption in the vaginal flora and the resultant yeast infection.
Some of the major risk factors include :
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics can destroy friendly bacteria.
- Pregnancy. Hormonal changes can disrupt the pH balance in the vagina and lead to yeast infection.
- Diabetes. Yeast likes to feed on sugar, and since diabetes causes an overproduction of sugar in the body, the disease is a major risk factor for yeast overgrowth.
- Weakened Immune System. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS, the use of corticosteroids and many chemotherapy medications can weaken the body’s ability to fight off infection.
When the Candida albicans yeast becomes overgrown in the vagina it can produce a number of distinctive symptoms.
These symptoms include :
- Intense vaginal itching
- A burning sensation
- Irritation and inflammation of the vaginal area
- Vaginal discharge that is white-gray in color, thick in consistency (like cottage cheese) and has a yeast or bread-like odor.
Self-diagnosis of a yeast infection is not typically recommended.
There are several other vaginal infections that can produce symptoms that are similar to a yeast infection, including bacterial infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, and sexually transmitted infections, such as trichomoniasis.
These types of infections usually call for treatments much different than those of yeast infections, specifically a prescription of strong antibiotics.
However, if a doctor determines the symptoms you are experiencing are indeed being caused by the Candida fungus, there are several over the counter yeast infection treatments available.
Over the Counter Yeast Infection Treatments
Over the counter yeast infection treatments – treatments which do not require a doctor’s prescription—are available in both vaginal creams and suppositories.
They are typically the same types of anti-fungal medications a doctor would prescribe, but in lower doses. These over the counter treatments are available in one, three and seven day strengths, and can be found at most, if not all of your local drugstores.
Over the Counter Yeast Infection Creams
Vaginal anti-fungal creams for yeast infection are spread inside the vagina using an applicator that will help you measure the correct dose. Each of these creams is designed to kill off the yeast that is causing infection.
Some common examples include :
- Monistat. Monistat is the product name for the anti-fungal medication miconazole nitrate.
- Gyne-Lotrimin (clotrimazole)
- Gynezol (butoconazole)
- Vagistat-1 (tioconazole)
While these creams are indicated for use inside the vagina, they may also be accompanied by creams that are more topical in nature, and indicated for use on the vagina opening and on the vulva (skin that protects the vagina) to help relieve vaginal itch while the yeast inside the vagina is being destroyed.
The creams can be applied at any time of day, but because they tend to be a bit messy, most women prefer to apply them at bedtime.
Over the Counter Yeast Infection Suppositories
A yeast infection, or anti-fungal suppository is an oval shaped capsule designed to be inserted into the vagina. They are typically made from the same chemicals as the creams, and include an inserter to help carefully place the ovule into the vagina.
Yeast infection suppositories are far less messy, and will help avoid the ooze that is generally associated with the anti-fungal creams.
They also tend to have a higher strength formula than the yeast infection creams, which may help clear the symptoms of a yeast infection more rapidly.
Over the counter yeast infection treatments, whether in cream or suppository form, can quickly help rid you of embarrassing yeast infection symptoms, but because these symptoms may represent another type of infection instead, it is always recommended you first consult your doctor or gynecologist before proceeding with any form of treatment.