Vaginal Infections

Vaginal Yeast Infections

Fluctuating hormonal levels, bacteria, and sexual activity are just a few of the most common reasons women experience vaginal discomfort.

Knowing your body well and understanding the symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment options will help you decide upon a course of action that is right for you.

Do I have a Yeast Infection?

Do I have a Yeast Infection?

Answer a few questions and find out what your symptoms mean.

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

    There are two ways to cure a yeast infection—vaginally (an over-the-counter or prescription topical treatment) and orally (a pill, only available by prescription). It takes seven days for topical treatments and the oral pill to fully cure a yeast infection, but prescription oral therapies must be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream before they start working. In fact, oral treatments may take up to 16 - 24 hours before relieving symptoms. The MONISTAT® 1 Ovule® Treatment on the other hand, begins to relieve symptoms in 4 hours because it works at the site of the infection. 

    Additionally, MONISTAT® products will work with less drug resistance and fewer drug interactions than the oral pill. In a recent trial program, more than 90% of women reported fast symptom relief with MONISTAT® and 97% reported they would use MONISTAT® again.* Only antifungal products will cure a yeast infection. Symptom relief products containing benzocaine or hydrocortisone will provide temporary itch relief, but will not cure an infection.

  • Not all women will experience noticeable symptoms of a yeast infection. If the infection is mild, the symptoms might also be very subtle. Knowing what’s normal for you will help you be aware of any changes in your vaginal health. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for the first time, consult your healthcare professional for confirmation.

    With a yeast infection, most women have one or more of the following symptoms:

    • Vaginal itching
    • Vaginal discharge that may be thick, white, and lumpy like cottage cheese
    • Burning, soreness, or pain
    • Pain when urinating or having sex
    • Vulvar inflammation (redness, swelling, rash)

    If you experience any of the symptoms below, ask a healthcare professional before using MONISTAT®, as they could be signs of another type of infection.

    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Rash or hives
    • Lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Foul-smelling or greenish/grayish vaginal discharge
    • Missed periods
    • Frequent urination, an urgent need to urinate to difficulty passing urine
  • Vaginal yeast infections, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, are very common in women. In fact, 3 out of 4 women will experience a yeast infection in their lifetime. A vaginal yeast infection occurs when Candida, a fungus (yeast) 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.

  • Many variables can change the balance of yeast organisms normally present in the vagina. Too many yeast organisms can trigger a yeast infection. Infections occur either when the balance in the vagina has shifted, usually when the ‘good bacteria’ has been affected, or when there’s too much ‘food’ for the yeast, such as hormones or moisture. Triggers include:


    • Pregnancy: Increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy make women more susceptible to yeast infections. The CDC recommends treatment with a 7-day topical azole, like MONISTAT® 7, but never treat without consulting your healthcare professional first.
    • Menstruation: Changes in hormone levels during a normal menstrual cycle can affect vaginal health and 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.
    • Diabetes: Whether controlled or uncontrolled, diabetes puts women at higher risk for developing a yeast infection. The CDC recommends treatment with a 7-day topical azole, like MONISTAT® 7, but never treat without consulting your healthcare professional first.


    • Antibiotics: Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill healthy lactobacillus (‘good’) bacteria in the vagina, which enables yeast to overgrow.
    • Cancer Treatments: Undergoing chemotherapy 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.
  • While preventing a yeast infection is not always possible, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing one.

    • Using items that may inflame the vaginal membrane or upset the normal balance of the vagina, such as:
      • Scented detergents, feminine sprays or powders that are not gynecologist tested
      • Scented toilet paper, tampons or pads
      • Perfumed soaps, bubble baths, and body washes that are not specifically made for the vaginal area
    • Wearing wet bathing suits or tight exercise clothing that trap sweat in the vaginal area for long periods of time

    It’s best to only use gynecologist tested products in your intimate areas, and to change out of wet bathing suits and sweaty clothes as soon as possible to improve your chances of avoiding infection.

  • Make an appointment with your healthcare professional if:

    • It's your first yeast infection
    • You're under 12 years of age
    • You have missed a period, are pregnant or breastfeeding
    • You have, or suspect you may have, diabetes
    • You're taking the prescription drug Warfarin
    • You have a weakened immune system
    • You have recurring yeast infections (4 or more in one year)
    • You may have been exposed to HIV
    • You develop other symptoms such as rash, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, lower abdominal, back or shoulder pain
    • You have foul-smelling or greenish-grayish vaginal discharge
    • You're using MONISTAT® and there is no improvement in symptoms within 3 days
    • You're using MONISTAT® and symptoms last more than 7 days

    If you’re unsure of what to ask or are uncomfortable speaking with your doctor regarding yeast infection concerns, download our Doctor Discussion Guide to help start the conversation.