Yeast Infection Medications

This article will discuss the various medications available out there that you can use to effectively treat a yeast infection.

A yeast infection or candidiasis is a fungal disease which is brought about by overgrowth of Candida albicans on any warm, moist surface of the body. This condition is characterized by irritating symptoms such as itching and if left untreated can develop into a systemic yeast infection which can be fatal.

Fortunately, yeast infection medications are readily available in most pharmacies and drug stores. Generally, these medications can be divided into two categories:

A. Prescription medications.
B. Over the counter medications.

A. Prescription Medications

Prescription medications are usually obtained after a doctor has done conclusive tests and determined that the patient is suffering from a yeast infection. He/she then writes a prescription for a drug that can be bought at the pharmacy.
Prescription medication is often taken orally so that it can attack the root source of yeasts i.e. the gut. The various prescription medications can be grouped according to the type of yeast infection they treat i.e.

i. Vaginal and penile yeast infection medication.
ii. Skin, nail and hair yeast infection medication.
iii. Systemic yeast infection medication.

i. Vaginal and penile yeast infection medication
Vaginal yeast infections are common in women, because yeast is a normal inhabitant of the vaginal environment along with bacteria. Yeast infections are, however, uncommon in men, but can be passed on from an infected woman to the penis of a man during sexual intercourse.

A doctor will usually take samples of the discharge to determine the cause and then prescribe medication.
There are different types of medication which include:

a) Diflucan: This is an oral pill taken only once to cure a vaginal or penile yeast infection. It is very effective but may have some side effects.
b) Femstat: This drug is taken to treat vaginal yeast infections.
c) Gynecure: It is used to treat vaginal as well as penile yeast infections.
d) Nystatin: It is used to treat vaginal, penile as well as oral yeast infections. It may have side effects occasioned by the death of yeasts.
e) Terazole: It is used to treat vaginal yeast infections.

ii. Skin, nail and hair yeast infection medications

The types of skin, nail and hair yeast infection medications include:
a) Fulvicin: It is used to treat skin, hair, and toenail yeast infections. It has some side effects.
b) Lamisil: Used for skin, nail and toenail yeast infections. It can also be used for penile yeast infection. It can interfere with some other drugs and has possible side effects.
c) Nizoral: It is used for skin as well as scalp yeast infections.
d) Sporanox: It is used for nail and toe nail fungal yeast infections.

iii. Systemic yeast infection medication
Sometimes, the yeast infection spreads throughout the whole body, through the bloodstream, thereby becoming a systemic yeast infection. However, there are medications that can treat this condition. They include:

a) Amphotericin B: This drug is poorly absorbed in the small intestine and therefore is effective in killing the yeasts found in the intestinal tract.

B. Over the counter medications

Many yeast infections are now available over the counter, and can be obtained without the need of a prescription. Over the counter yeast infection medication comes in two main forms i.e.

I. Vaginal creams.
II. Suppositories.

I. Vaginal creams
Vaginal creams are applied in the vaginal area using an applicator. These creams have anti fungal chemicals which kill the yeast. However, there are also topical creams that are applied on the external opening of the vagina and the vulva. These topical creams are used to relieve symptoms such as itching. Vaginal creams are messy and may leak out.

II. Suppositories
Suppositories are bullet-shaped capsules that are inserted into the vagina where they slowly dissolve and release the medicine. Suppositories typically come packaged along with a plastic device which is used to insert the capsule into the vagina.

Suppositories tend to be less messy as compared to vaginal creams and don’t leak out. They are also very effective.
However, suppositories tend to be more expensive than vaginal creams.
Common brands of over the counter yeast infection medications include:
• Gyne-Lotrimin.
• Monistat.
• Mycelex.
• Femstat.
• Terazole.
• Gynezol.
• Vagistat.

Notes about over the counter medications:

- It is reported that about 50% of women who take over the counter yeast infection medication are usually suffering from a different condition. It is therefore important that you consult a doctor in order for him/her to verify that you actually have a yeast infection.
- You should consult a doctor before/during usage of over the counter yeast infection medication if:
- You are on other medications which could interfere with the yeast infection medication.
- It is your first time to use the yeast infection medication.
- You are pregnant or lactating.
- You are suffering from HIV/AIDS or diabetes.
- You develop side effects like abdominal pain, a foul smelling discharge or fever.
- You complete usage of the medication but your symptoms persist.

Comparison between prescription and Over the counter medication

1. Prescription medication is more effective than over the counter yeast infection medication.
2. Prescription medication can only be obtained through a doctor’s prescription.
3. Over the counter medication is cheaper than prescription medication.
4. Over the counter medications usually have fewer side effects than prescription medication.

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