Yeast Infection Creams: 5 Types & How to Use Safely

Updated in December 2022

Yeast infection creams contain substances with antifungal action. They inhibit the growth and spread of the fungus that causes yeast infections. They are also beneficial for relieving symptoms like irritation, itching, redness, swelling or discharge. 

A yeast infection is caused by excessive growth of Candida albicans fungus in the genital area. It can affect both men and women of any age. 

Creams for yeast infections can be purchased at pharmacies and are generally available without a prescription. However, it is important to see a doctor for assessment if you have symptoms to determine whether you do have a yeast infection and to indicate the best treatment. 

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Vaginal creams 

Vaginal creams for yeast infections should be recommended by a doctor. They should be applied as directed to the external and internal vagina. If the doctor indicates a longer course of usage, be sure to finish the cream as instructed, even if you symptoms have improved.

Ointments should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding, unless indicated by an OBGYN. 

The most commonly used topical creams for yeast infections are: 

1. Clotrimazole

Clotrimazole inhibits the growth of Candida albicans, which relieves symptoms of itching, redness, and discharge.

This medication can be purchased as an ointment or tablet to be inserted into the vagina. It can come with 1, 3 or 6 applications, depending on the product purchased. 

How to use: Apply clotrimazole once per day, ideally at night time, for 1 to 6 days (depending on your doctor’s recommendations and the severity of your symptoms). Use the applicator included in the package, and be sure to avoid use during mentruation. You should avoid sex during treatment, as yeast infections can be easily transmitted, and the medication may reduce the efficacy of condoms. 

2. Butoconazole nitrate 

Butoconazole nitrate is another antifungal ointment that is used to prevent the multiplication of fungal cells in the genital area. It is beneficial for the treatment of vulvar and vaginal inflammation from yeast infections, as well as the treatment of other related symptoms. 

This medication is available in cream or tablet form, to be used intravaginally. 

How to use: Butaconazole is usually indicated for use once a day (preferably at night time) for 3 days. It can be inserted into the vagina as a tablet, which will then dissolve into a cream, or inserted as a cream using an applicator. It should not be used during menstruation. Symptoms that persist for longer than this time should be assessed by a doctor. 

3. Miconazole

Miconazole cream helps to relieve itching, redness or discharge caused by yeast infections, It destroys Candida albicans cells and can also be used for the treatment if anal yeast infections. 

It can be used as a topical cream or a vaginal tablet, and it often found over-the-counter with different treatment durations, 1, 3 or 7 days.

How to use: Apply the ointment once per day for the treatment duration indicated by your doctor. Be sure to wash your hands before and after application, and to insert the cream as deeply as possible into the vagina. 

4. Tioconazole

Tioconazole is commonly used to treat yeast infections, but it may also be therapeutically used for the treatment of trichomoniasis or gardnerella infections. 

It usually comes as cream in a pre-filled applicator, for use intravaginally. 

How to use: Insert the applicator deeply within the vaginal canal, and insert the cream. It can be used as a one-time treatment, or for longer, if advised by your doctor. 

5. Terconazole 

Terconazole is an antifungal agent that slows and stops the proliferation of fungal yeast cells in the genital area. It helps to relieve symptoms like itching, redness and discharge. 

This medication can be purchased as a cream or vaginal suppository, both which are prepared in pre-filled applicator. You should opt for the form advised by your doctor. 

How to use: Insert the applicator deeply into the vaginal canal and use once per day. Duration of treatment will vary depending on your doctor’s instructions. This medication can decrease the efficacy of condom use, therefore sex relations should be paused during treatment. 

Read more about the different forms of yeast infection medicine that your doctor can prescribe. 

Creams for men

Yeast infection creams for men contain the same substances as those found in creams for women. They are applied without the use of an applicator.

Use of these creams should be directed by a urologist, and are generally applied to the glans twice or three times per day for up to 3 weeks, even after symptoms have disappeared. 

Doctors may opt to prescribe oral forms of antifungals, together or without a topical cream, for a more aggressive approach to treatment.

Read more about how yeast infections present in men and how they may different from women.  

Possible side effects

Some common side effects that can occur with antifungal creams include redness, swelling, burning, hemorrhage, itching or abdominal pain.

Sitz baths for yeast infections may be a great treatment option for patients who experience side effects or have allergies to antifungals.


Creams for yeast infections should not be used by children, pregnant women or breastfeeding women. 

These creams should not be used by those with an allergy to antifungals, like clotrimazole, miconazole, tioconazole. Vaginal clotrimazole should not be used by women with an allergy to cetostearyl alcohol. 

Yeast infection creams are not recommended for women presenting with symptoms like fever, abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, foul-smelling odor or vaginal bleeding. In these cases, you should consult your gynecologist. 

Care during treatment 

Some considerations for treatment of yeast infections with creams include: 

  • Wash and dry your hands before use.
  • Cleanse the genital area, to remove reside from previous cream use. 
  • Maintain adequate overall hygiene, making sure to use dry underwear at all times. 
  • Use loose cotton underwear.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. 
  • Avoid consuming alcohol, sugar and fatty foods. 

Women should also avoid tampon use, vaginal douching and spermicide use during treatment. Learn more about the candida diet, and how your food can help to treat or prevent a yeast infection. 

Quick recovery of a yeast infection

Some simple ways you can speed-up your yeast infection treatment is by ensuring low sugar intake and using probiotics. These can cure the infection much quicker and complement the treatment advised by your doctor. You can also check-out these home remedies for yeast infections to use in conjunction with your prescribed therapy.