What is a vaginal yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infections, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, are really very common in women. As many as 1 out of 3 will suffer from one in their lifetime. The infection occurs when Candida, a fungus normally found in areas like the mouth, digestive tract and vagina, begins to multiply and invade the vaginal tissue. Normally, Candida functions alongside other microorganisms in a delicate balance. When the balance is disrupted, an overgrowth of Candida can lead to a yeast infection.

What causes yeast infections?

Many things can change the balance of yeast organisms normally present in the vagina. If there are too many, it can trigger a yeast infection. Triggers include:
  • Menstruation: Changes in hormone levels during a normal menstrual cycle can result in occasional or recurrent yeast infections.
  • Increased estrogen levels: Women who are taking birth control pills that have a high-dose of estrogen as well as those on estrogen hormone therapy are more susceptible to developing a yeast infection.
  • Pregnancy: Increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy make women more susceptible to recurrent yeast infections. The CDC recommends treatment with a 7-day topical Azole, like MONISTAT®, but never treat without consulting your doctor first.
  • Antibiotics: Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill healthy lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina, which enables yeast to overgrow.
  • Diabetes: Whether controlled or uncontrolled, diabetes puts women at higher risk for developing a yeast infection.
  • Cancer Treatments: Undergoing chemotherapy treatments creates a greater risk for developing a yeast infection.
  • Impaired immune system: Women with weakened immunity from corticosteroid therapy or HIV infections are at greater risk for developing a yeast infection.
It’s good to understand that most often, yeast infections result from a type of Candida fungus known as Candida albicans, which is generally responsive to standard therapy, but other strains exist that are more resistant common treatment options. If you experience any problems treating or curing your yeast infection, consult a doctor.

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?

When you have a vaginal yeast infection, you may have one or more of the following symptoms: vaginal itching, vaginal discharge that may be thick, white and lumpy like cottage cheese, vaginal soreness, irritation or burning, rash or redness on the skin outside the vagina (vulva), burning upon urination, and painful vaginal intercourse (sex).

Vaginal yeast infections do NOT cause fever, chills, lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain, foul smelling vaginal discharge, or a missed period. These may be signs of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or a tubal pregnancy. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

How do I prevent yeast infections?

The following are some things that have been associated with preventing yeast infection. Keep the genital area cool and dry by wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes, change out of damp clothes or a wet bathing suit as soon as possible and change maxi pads or panty liners often when you are not having your period. Avoid scented hygiene products like bubble bath, sprays, pads and tampons. Also, change tampons and pads often during your period. Talk with your doctor about any drugs you are now taking — you are more likely to get a vaginal yeast infection if you are taking certain drugs such as antibiotics, steroids or birth control pills. Do not stop taking these drugs without first asking your doctor. A doctor may need to see you to make sure that you do not have other medical conditions such as diabetes or a weakened immune system.

Do I have to go to the doctor?

Talk to your doctor before using the product if you:

  • Have vaginal itching and discomfort for the first time or never had a vaginal yeast infection diagnosed by a doctor.
  • Have lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, as you may have a more serious condition.
  • Have vaginal yeast infections often (such as once a month or 3 in 6 months). You could be pregnant or have a serious underlying medical cause for your symptoms, including diabetes or a weakened immune system.
  • Have been exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Are taking the prescription blood-thinning medicine warfarin (Coumadin).

Stop using the product and consult your doctor if:

  • Symptoms do not get better in 3 days.
  • Symptoms last more than 7 days.
  • You get a rash or hives, abdominal pain, headache, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, foul-smelling vaginal discharge or severe vaginal burning, itching, irritation or swelling.

You should also contact your doctor if you have any other medical questions.

How do I treat a yeast infection?

If this is your first time experiencing a yeast infection or you are unsure as to whether or not you have one, consult your doctor for a diagnosis. If you know that it is a yeast infection from past experience and are familiar with the symptoms you can try MONISTAT®. MONISTAT® can begin to relieve symptoms soon after the first dose, with a full cure after 7 days.

If you are experiencing symptoms of an infection, but think that it might not be a yeast infection, you can use the MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE™ Vaginal Health Test to help determine if you need to see a doctor.

What is the difference between MONISTAT® antifungals and other OTC treatments?

MONISTAT® antifungal has a long term record of success — it has been in use for the treatment of vaginal yeast infections for over 35 years and is the #1 doctor recommended OTC brand. MONISTAT® antifungals have been clinically tested, and its safety and effectiveness has been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies.

Should I use MONISTAT® 1, 3 or 7?

It is your preference as to which product you choose. MONISTAT® 1 is a one-day, one-dose product; the medication dose concentration is the highest compared to MONISTAT® 3 and 7. MONISTAT® 3 is a three-day, three-dose product that has a lower concentration of medication per dose. MONISTAT® 7 is a seven-day, seven-dose product that contains the lowest concentration of medication per dose. However, all three products are similarly effective in curing yeast infections in the same amount of time. If your symptoms do not get better in 3 days or symptoms last more than 7 days, these may be signs that the product is not working or you may have a more serious medical condition so stop the use of the product and contact your doctor.

If my symptoms clear up before I finish the medicine, can I stop treating?

No. We recommend our product be used as directed. When using MONISTAT® as directed, you may start to get relief of symptoms in a few hours. If your symptoms do not get better in 3 days or symptoms last more than 7 days, these may be signs that the product is not working or you may have a more serious condition. If this is the case stop use of the product and contact your doctor.

What should I do if it doesn’t clear up?

If your symptoms do not get better in 3 days or symptoms last more than 7 days, these may be signs that the product is not working or you may have a more serious condition. If this is the case, stop use of the product and contact your doctor.

Should I experience any side effects while using MONISTAT® antifungals?

A mild increase in vaginal burning, itching or irritation may occur when you first insert a MONISTAT® antifungal. Abdominal cramping has also been reported. Stop using MONISTAT® antifungals and consult your doctor if you have abdominal pain, headache, hives, skin rash or if you have severe vaginal burning, itching, irritation or swelling.

Can pregnancy cause vaginal yeast infections?

Women who are pregnant are more likely to get a vaginal yeast infection. If you are pregnant and think you have a vaginal yeast infection, talk to your doctor before using any product to treat the infection.

Do antibiotics cause vaginal yeast infections?

Certain drugs, including antibiotics, may make it more likely for you to get a vaginal yeast infection. If you are taking antibiotics, do not stop taking them without first asking a doctor.

Can I exercise while taking MONISTAT®?

You can exercise while you are taking MONISTAT®1 Combination Pack 1-Day Less Mess Ovule® with DAY or NIGHT® formula. All other treatments should be taken at night, and you can expect some leakage with product use. For best results, lie down as soon as possible after inserting the product. This will reduce leakage. You may want to use deodorant-free minipads or panty shields to protect your clothing during the time you are using MONISTAT®.

Can I use MONISTAT® while having my period?

Yes, MONISTAT® can be used during your menstrual period. In fact, many women get vaginal yeast infections just before their period because of hormone changes. Using MONISTAT® during your period will not affect how well the product works. If you have started treatment and your period occurs, you should complete the full course of treatment. Do not use tampons while using MONISTAT® because tampons may remove some of the drug from the vagina. Use deodorant-free sanitary napkins or pads instead, and change them often.

Are vaginal yeast infections like an STD?

Vaginal yeast infections are usually not spread by having intercourse (sex). However, if your partner has a rash, itching or discomfort in the genital area, a doctor should be contacted to find the cause of the symptoms. The doctor should be informed that you are treating a vaginal yeast infection with MONISTAT®.

Can I use a condom while treating my vaginal yeast infection?

Do not have vaginal intercourse while using MONISTAT®. When using MONISTAT® do not use tampons, douches, spermicides or other vaginal products. Condoms and diaphragms may be damaged and fail to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

How is MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE™ Stay Fresh Gel unique?

Most feminine deodorants only mask the odor with fragrance, they do not eliminate it. Just a small amount of MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE Stay Fresh Gel provides long-lasting freshness that lasts for days. It coats the vaginal area with a specifically-formulated gel that is designed to protect vaginal balance and work with your body to restore feminine freshness.

Can I transfer my vaginal yeast infection to my partner?

Vaginal yeast infections are usually not spread by having intercourse (sex). However, if your partner has a rash, itching or discomfort in the genital area, a doctor should be contacted to find the cause of the symptoms. The doctor should be informed that you are treating a vaginal yeast infection with MONISTAT®.

Is MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE™ Stay Fresh Gel safe?

Yes the ingredients in MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE Stay Fresh Gel have been clinically tested and shown to be safe. Also, the gel contains no fragrances, parabens, colorants, deodorizers, or drugs of any kind.

What causes temporary feminine odor?

Temporary feminine odor can be caused by perspiration, intercourse, your menstrual cycle, and even the use of some soaps or douches can disturb the natural vaginal balance.

How do Probiotics work?

The body, including the vagina and urinary tract, contains complex finely balanced ecosystems where beneficial bacteria keep disease- causing organisms in check. When these systems are thrown out of balance, the result can be conditions like urinary tract infections, yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. Probiotics introduce friendly bacteria into the body. MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE contains a proprietary combination of two probiotic strains, Lactobacillus reuteri, RC-14®* and Lactocbacillus rhamnosus, GR-1®*, which have been clinically shown to help maintain vagina AND urinary tract health.

*Note: GR-1® and RC-14® are trademarks of Chr. Hansen.

Why is vaginal acidity important?

Normal vaginal bacteria produce factors that keep the vaginal environment slightly acidic. The acidic environment helps suppress the overgrowth of abnormal bacteria. When abnormal bacteria overgrow or parasitic infections like Trichomoniasis become established, this results in abnormal vaginal activity — yeast infections usually do not result in a change in vaginal acidity.

Are all vaginal infections yeast infections?

No, in fact, the most common vaginal infection is bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is an infection caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is distinguished by a fishy odor and a thin, grayish-white discharge and a drop in vaginal acidity. BV is caused by an abnormal growth of bacteria and must be treated with prescription antibiotics. By contrast, yeast infections do not usually cause an odor, and the discharge will often be thick, white, and lumpy with associated vaginal itching and irritation. If left untreated, BV may lead to a serious infection of the reproductive organs called pelvic inflammatory disease and complications in pregnant women, including premature birth.

You should see your doctor if your experiencing symptoms like a fishy odor, change in discharge, or sudden irritation within 48 hours after a new sex partner to make sure you do not have a sexually transmitted disease or BV.

Another common vaginal infection is Trichomoniasis (Trich), which is a parasitic infection. Symptoms of Trichomoniasis may include the following: itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals, discomfort with urination, or a thin discharge with an unusual smell. The discharge can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish. Like BV, Trichomoniasis must be treated by a healthcare provider.

There are also non-infectious causes of vaginal inflammation and irritation. These are usually caused by an allergic reaction or irritation from vaginal sprays, douches, spermicidal products, soaps, detergents, or fabric softeners. Burning, itching, or vaginal discharge may be present even if there is no infection.

Are BV and trichomoniasis treated the same way as a yeast infection?

No. BV is caused by an abnormal growth of bacteria and must be treated with prescription antibiotics. At this time there are no FDA approved OTC treatments for BV.

Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection and must be treated with prescription antibiotics. At this time there are no FDA approved OTC treatments for Trichomoniasis.

If you think you have a yeast infection and are familiar with the symptoms because you have been previously diagnosed with a yeast infection, you can try an over-the-counter antifungal remedy such as MONISTAT®. If this is your first yeast infection, see your healthcare provider.

Why should I be concerned about BV or trichomoniasis?

If left untreated, BV and Trichomoniasis may lead to a serious infection of the reproductive organs called pelvic inflammatory disease. BV and Trich may lead to complications in pregnant women, including serious infections and premature birth. Trich can also increase the risk of getting or spreading other sexually transmitted infections.

For more information visit the CDC website on BV.

For more information visit the CDC website on trichomoniasis.

How does the screening kit for vaginal infections work?

If the yellow tip comes into contact with vaginal discharge that has an abnormal acidity, the tip's color will change to either blue or green. The color change creates a stain that is darker and easily observed over the yellow background.

If I have vaginal itching, burning, and/or abnormal discharge, and receive a result of normal acidity detected, what should I do?

You may have a yeast infection. If this is your first yeast infection, it is important that you talk to your doctor. However, if you are in good health, have been previously diagnosed with a yeast infection and are familiar with the symptoms, you can try an over-the-counter antifungal remedy such as MONISTAT®. MONISTAT® can begin to relieve symptoms soon after the first dose, with a full cure after several days. A MONISTAT® coupon is available in the box or on this site.

How accurate is the screening kit for vaginal infections?

In a clinical study of pre-menopausal women where the physicians used the test kit, the kit detected 91.8% of cases with an abnormal pH associated with a bacterial or Trichomoniasis infection. In 92.9% of cases of no bacterial infection, the kit indicated normal vaginal acidity. In another study where women used the test, there was a 92% agreement between the patient and physician reading of the results.

What is MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE™ Probiotics plus Antioxidants?

MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE Probiotics plus Antioxidants come in an easily swallowed capsule, designed to be taken daily like a vitamin supplement. MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE combines 2 probiotic strains Lactocbacillus rhamnosus, GR-1®*, and Lactobacillus reuteri, RC-14®*, clinically shown to help maintain vaginal AND urinary tract health. These probiotic strains are different than the probiotic strains found in products to support digestion. The probiotic strains found in MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE were specially selected for feminine health benefits. MONISTAT® COMPLETE CARE also includes the antioxidants Vitamin A and vitamin C to help support the immune system

*Note: GR-1® and RC-14® are trademarks of Chr. Hansen.

Why test before you treat?

Not all vaginal symptoms are yeast infections; Test if you are unsure. Use this test if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Unpleasant odor
  • Abnormal or excessive discharge
  • Vaginal itching or burning

What types of MONISTAT® products are available?

A. For your convenience and comfort, MONISTAT® antifungals are available in 1-day, 3-day, and 7-day treatment formulations with a variety of forms including Ovule®, cream, and traditional suppositories. You can also choose the treatment system right for you.

  • Complete Therapy contains the vaginal antifungal cure, external relief cream, and soothing wipes
  • Cure and Itch Relief contains the vaginal antifungal cure and external itch relief cream
  • Simple Cure contains just the vaginal antifungal cure.

What are some of the benefits of MONISTAT® vs. an oral prescription treatment?

Because each MONISTAT® antifungal is available without a prescription, women who have had previous yeast infections and are experiencing the same symptoms do not have to wait for a doctor’s appointment to get the relief they need. MONISTAT® is also a topical treatment—it’s placed directly into the vagina at the source of infection. (Oral pills need to be digested and absorbed into the blood stream before they start working.)

Do external vaginal pain relievers treat vaginal yeast infections?

External vaginal pain relievers are sold for the temporary relief of external (outside the vagina) itching, but they won’t cure the yeast infection. MONISTAT® antifungal contains an active ingredient that fights yeast and is applied inside the vagina to treat and cure the yeast infection. Most MONISTAT® antifungal products also come with an external itch relief cream for relief of symptoms.