OVER-THE-COUNTER TREATMENTS

money Before you run out and buy one of these, you should be aware that all of the over-the-counter drugs are specifically designed to treat yeast infections. If you use one and you don't really have a yeast infection, you might be creating a strain of drug-resistant yeast in your crotch, and next time you have a yeast infection the drug won't work. This problem doesn't occur with home remedies, which are both gentler and broader, so you may want to try those first if you aren't absolutely positive you have a yeast infection.

While many of the home remedies will take care of most yeast infections, sometimes you're forced to go for more powerful treatments, and that usually means a trip to the pharmacy. if you are like me and are offended by the inhumane policies of large corporate pharmacy chains, go to a small locally-owned pharmacy, if they haven't been starbucked right out of your neighborhood. (Of course, if you're planning to shoplift your yeast medication, I would definitely recommend that you hit a large corporate pharmacy.) Once there, you should find three basic types of over-the-counter fungicides that will almost certainly scratch that itch.

  • As anyone who watches American TV knows, Monistat has a purportedly 1-day treatment called Monistat-1. The active ingredient is tioconazole, a scary-powerful antifungal drug. The same thing used to be made by Bristol-Myers-Squibb and be called Vagistat-1, but that one isn't on the market anymore, and i suspect Monistat swallowed it up in their insatiable drive to own the yeast infection market. Pfizer sells the same thing in Canada as GyneCure, and in South Africa as Gyno-Trosyd. I haven't tried the stuff, but from what people who write to me say (and from the fine print in the TV commercials), it looks like you might have to wait up to 7 days for your infection to go away, or you may need more than 1 day of the stuff to do the job. Buyer beware.

    + Maybe only 1 DAY of oozing gross, white, greasy stuff!

    + Comes with 1 prefilled, disposable applicator (but it's made out of plastic).

    - Costs about $15 for every 1-day package you have to buy.

    -Contains oils that break down latex, as in condoms and dams.
  • In december 1995 the US FDA deregulated another powerful fungicide, butoconazole, originally sold as Femstat and now as Mycelex. Again, I haven't tried it, so I can't speak from personal experience, but here's the word on the street:

    + only 3 days of oozing gross, white, greasy stuff.

    + topical treatment, so no systemic effects and few, if any, side effects.

    + comes with 3 prefilled, disposable applicators.

    - according to an article that used to be on the ABCnews website, butoconazole is one of the top ten drugs reported to the US FDA to cause adverse reactions.

    - expensive at $13-15.

    - breaks down latex.

  • In response to the deregulation of butoconazole, Monistat got approval to release a stronger version of their product ("Monistat 3"), which was approved for sale starting in May 1996. Yes it's true, ladies, the mid-90's were an exciting time of yeast infection wars.

    +Only 3 days of oozing gross, white, greasy stuff.

    +Comes with extra tube of cream to relieve vulvar itching.

    -Still $15 - 20.

    -Still breaks down latex.

    -Apparently it's easy to develop allergies to it, as one unhappy woman wrote to tell me after a dose of Monistat resulted in a burning crotch and a trip to the doctor.
  • I don't know if anyone still uses them, but two types of crotch-oriented fungicides that require 7 days of treatment have been available in most American pharmacies since they were deregulated in 1991. Different companies make and sell them under different names, but the two are miconazole, sold as Monistat-7, and chlotrimazole, sold as Mycelex or Gyne-Lotrimin (or, when packaged as a treatment for athlete's foot, Lotrimin); in Europe, the same thing is sold as Canestan. Because most wimmin and doctors say they can't tell the difference between them, I used to randomly grab one off the shelf, and have the same opinions about both.

    + Kills most yeast infections dead.

    - Still expensive at $15.

    - Requires 7 days of gross, white, greasy stuff oozing out of your crotch.

    - Some brands come with only 1 applicator that you have to wash and reuse. others come with more, and then you're wasting plastic.

    - Like all the others, it breaks down latex.

WARNING

If these treatments don't solve your problem, you either have a really demonically powerful yeast infection, or you are being attacked by a different species of yeast, or your problem isn't yeast. In this case, you'll probably have to go to a medical professional to determine which the problem is and get a prescription.