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If you’re feeling an itch around your vagina or noticing some unusual discharge, you may be experiencing a yeast infection. Yeast infections are common, so luckily, there are some easy treatments available without a trip to the doctor’s office.
Monistat, also known as miconazole, is an over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medication commonly used to treat vaginal yeast infections.
Note that if this is your first yeast infection, symptoms don’t improve with treatment, or you don’t know the cause of your symptoms, it’s best to schedule a visit with a healthcare professional.
Keep reading to learn more about Monistat, how to use it, different options, and potential side effects.
- variety of options available
- safe and effective OTC treatment
- may clear up symptoms within 3 days
- may experience a burning sensation, irritation, or itching
- won’t treat symptoms if you don’t have a yeast infection
- can be messy from the vaginal discharge of medication
Monistat is the brand name for the antifungal medication miconazole. It’s one of the OTC options available to treat yeast infections.
Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida. This fungus is a normal part of the bacteria and fungi that live in the vagina, called the vaginal flora.
Sometimes, the balance of bacteria and fungi is interrupted, allowing the Candida to overgrow and cause an infection. Antifungal medications, like Monistat, work by preventing yeast growth and restoring a healthy balance.
The active ingredient in Monistat that treats yeast infections is miconazole nitrate.
Monistat is used to treat vaginal yeast infections and manage the symptoms.
If this is your first yeast infection, talk with a healthcare professional before using this product. The symptoms of a yeast infection can be similar to some other conditions, like bacterial vaginosis or sexually transmitted infections.
Monistat won’t treat any other condition besides a fungal infection. So, it’s important to know that you have a yeast infection before using this medication.
Monistat comes with simple-to-follow instructions within the product packaging. Be sure to read the directions before using this medication. Then, use the product as directed and complete all of the doses.
Depending on the type of product, you may be instructed to use the product for 1 to 7 days.
Whether you prefer a cream or tablet option, Monistat comes with applicators for each dose to easily insert the treatment into your vagina.
Steps to use Monistat
- Read instructions on the packaging.
- Place the ovule or cream into an applicator, or grab the prefilled applicator.
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent or stand with your feet apart and knees bent.
- Insert the applicator as far as it will comfortably go into your vagina.
- With one hand holding the barrel, slowly push the plunger to administer the medication.
- Remove the applicator from the vagina and throw the applicator away after use.
You may want to use a pad or panty liner after inserting Monistat to protect your clothing because it’s possible for some of the medication to leak or discharge from the vagina.
If your product came with external vulvar cream, using your finger, apply a small amount of the cream to the itchy skin around the vagina.
Monistat is available as a 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day treatment. All three varieties effectively treat yeast infections in nearly the same amount of time. The main difference is the strength of the dose.
In addition to the options for length of treatment, the product comes either as an ointment or suppository tablet to insert into the vagina. The ointments are only recommended for nighttime use, while the ovule suppository can be inserted day or night.
With each option, it’s recommended to contact a healthcare professional if symptoms don’t improve within 3 days and last longer than 7 days.
The price of the Monistat products may vary based on where you purchase the product from. On average, these products are listed for around $14–$18.
Let’s review the details for the different varieties of Monistat:
Monistat-1 Combination Pack
Monistat-1 Combination Pack is a maximum strength dose and is designed to treat a yeast infection with just one dose. The combination pack includes one ovule insert and external cream.
The ovule contains a dose of 1,200 milligrams (mg) of miconazole. Since this is a higher dose, some people may be more likely to experience side effects from use.
The ovule can be inserted day or night. It even stays in place while exercising. So, it’s recommended for people who don’t want to wait until night to start treatment.
The external cream can be used morning and evening to relieve itchiness.
Monistat 1 Tioconazole Ointment
The Monistat 1 Tioconazole Ointment is a good option for people who are sensitive to miconazole or ingredients in any of the other options. This option comes with one prefilled applicator of 6.5 percent tioconazole ointment.
This option is best for people with sensitive skin. It’s recommended for nighttime use.
Monistat 3 comes in four different varieties, with 200 mg of miconazole nitrate as the active ingredient. It’s recommended to use these products just before bed. The external cream can be applied morning and night for itch relief.
Monistat 3 is considered the regular strength dose and is delivered over 3 days.
The different varieties of Monistat 3 include:
- vaginal suppositories and external cream
- ovule inserts and external cream
- prefilled applicators and external cream
- prefilled applicators
Monistat 7 is a 7-day treatment course of 2 percent miconazole nitrate cream. This is the lowest strength dose available. According to the product description, the 7-day treatment course is the only type recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for pregnant people or those with diabetes.
Monistat 7 is available as a cream with disposable applicators.
Overall, customers seem to have a positive experience with these products and find them effective for treating yeast infections. Monistat says they’re the No. 1 brand recommended by gynecologists.
However, some people experience negative side effects, like a burning sensation, after using the product. One reviewer who experienced severe burning sensations stated she later learned she had bacterial vaginosis rather than a yeast infection.
Monistat is considered a safe OTC medication. It’s only recommended for treating yeast infections, and it won’t treat other conditions with similar symptoms.
Only the 7-day treatment option is recommended by the CDC for treating yeast infections in pregnant people.
Here are some other safety tips for using Monistat:
- Don’t use tampons, douches, spermicides, or other vaginal products.
- Don’t have vaginal intercourse until after finishing treatment.
- Don’t scratch the skin around the vagina.
- Wash hands before and after use.
- Avoid bringing the medication into contact with your face, eyes, or mouth.
Common side effects when using Monistat include:
Less common side effects and possible signs of a reaction to the medication include:
- skin rash or hives
- abdominal or stomach cramps and pain
- inflammation and swelling
If any of these side effects continue or worsen over time, contact a healthcare professional.
|Products||Monistat 1, |
3, and 7
|Vagistat 1 (tioconazole), |
3, and 7
– boric acid
|Uses||treat yeast |
|treat yeast |
|probiotic to |
yeast infections but is not a medication
|yeast infection |
with oral medications
|Reviews||4.5 out of 5 stars||4.5 out of 5 stars||4.5 out of 5 stars||4.5 out of 5 stars|
If this is your first time experiencing vaginal itching or discomfort, it’s recommended to speak with a doctor or another healthcare professional to confirm the cause of your symptoms.
Once you’ve experienced a yeast infection before, a doctor may tell you it’s OK to use OTC medications to treat them. If your yeast infection symptoms don’t start to improve within 3 days after beginning treatment or last longer than 7 days, schedule a visit with a healthcare professional.
Is it safe to use Monistat when pregnant?
According to the CDC, Monistat 7 is the only Monistat product recommended for treating yeast infections when pregnant.
Should I use Monistat 1, 3, or 7?
All the Monistat products are considered equally safe and effective. They should all provide some relief from symptoms from a yeast infection within 3 days. The best option for you will depend on your preference and how your body reacts to the medications.
How fast does Monistat work?
Some people experience relief from symptoms almost immediately. Symptoms should progressively improve after each treatment and be improved by day 3.
When should I use Monistat?
Unless you’re using the ovule version, Monistat should be used just before bedtime. The ovule can be used during the day or evening because it’s designed to stay in place during movement. The Monistat external cream can be used morning and evening.
Monistat is a safe and effective OTC medication to treat yeast infections. They offer different forms of medication and a number of treatments, so you can find an option that fits your needs best with the least side effects.
If your symptoms don’t improve after treatment, contact a healthcare professional. Your symptoms may not be caused by a yeast infection, or you may need alternative medication.
Ashley Braun, MPH, RD, is a health and wellness writer based in Michigan. Her work helps people understand what affects their health, so they can make informed choices to take back the control in their health and wellness journey.