Yeast infections are no fun. This is what I've learned about treating the symptoms and preventing future infections.
Does It Burn When You Use Monistat?
An increase in burning, itching, and irritation is a side effect that many women experience when using Monistat, though the intensity varies woman to woman and some say using the ovule formulation decreases those side effects.
In my opinion, I believe it's possible to manage yeast infections without using over-the-counter medication. This way, you might be able to avoid the pain of side effects altogether.
This article will clarify common misconceptions and demystify yeast infections and their causes. I'll also talk about some natural ways to prevent yeast infections.
Why Does Monistat Cause Burning?
As mentioned, burning doesn't need to be a part of your healing process. Sure, there are varying degrees of discomfort, ranging from slightly uncomfortable to oh-my-God my hoo-hoo is on fire! However, no matter the degree of discomfort you're experiencing, you might be able to totally avoid it once you understand what a yeast infection is and how you can heal it.
Remember that you should always seek a doctor's advice if you're having vaginal itching and discomfort for the first time, or if you've never had a yeast infection diagnosed by a medical professional before. This is so you can be properly diagnosed since there are other conditions that are similar to a yeast infection but require different kinds of treatment.1
So why does Monistat burn? There are a couple of explanations for the discomfort/burning feeling you may be experiencing from your Monistat treatment:
- A common side effect. Burning, itching, and irritation is a common side effect to this medication, and the amount of pain or irritation people feel varies widely, from none, to almost none, to some, to intense burning.
- An allergic reaction. A small percentage of woman are allergic to one of the active ingredients in Monistat, miconazole. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, itching/swelling, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing.2 If you think you're suffering from an allergic reaction, you should consult a doctor immediately who can prescribe or recommend a cream.
- An irritation. Another possible reason for your burning or discomfort down there is that it could be an irritation. Monistat may just be reacting with your already sensitive skin.
Either way, should Monistat burn? Well, that depends. According to Monistat's website, some women will experience a mild increase in vaginal burning, itching, irritation, or even stomach cramps when using Monistat.2 These side effects vary greatly from person to person, with some women having almost no reaction and others having great discomfort.
Regardless, these side effects are not abnormal and them alone are not cause for alarm. However, if the pain is severe, then you should see a doctor to see about other types of treatment. Likewise, if your yeast infection does not go away after seven days, you should see a doctor since you may be having another kind of infection.
Types of Monistat
|Type||Available in||Instructions||How Fast Does It Work?|
Ovule or ointment
Use one dose in one day
Ovule, vaginal suppositories, pre-filled cream applicators,
Use one dose a day for three days
Tube + applicators
Use one dose a day for seven days
Yeast Infection: Explanation and Causes
A yeast infection (also called Candida, thrush, candidiasis, Candida Albicans, or Candida Tropicalis) is basically an imbalance in your body between the yeast and good bacteria. A healthy person has a good balance of yeast and good bacteria in their body. As soon as either goes off balance (when there’s too much of one relative to the other), your body reacts.3
Basically: If there's too much yeast, you have a yeast infection. If there's too much bacteria, you have a bacterial infection. Here are some reasons you might be having a yeast infection:
- Using antibiotics? Why are we prone to yeast infections after using antibiotics? Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your body—both the good and bad. Since they kill the bad bacteria, they also skew the ratio between the good bacteria and the yeast heavily toward the yeast. This increases the odds of a yeast infection.
- Pregnant? High estrogen levels (which can also be caused by hormone therapy, the menstrual cycle, and a high-dose birth control pill use) can encourage excess growth of yeast.
- Diabetic or eating a diet high in sugar? High blood sugar can provide a welcome environment for the growth of yeast.
Also, being overweight, stressed out, lacking sleep, having an impaired immune system, and using corticosteroids (such as prednisone) can also increase your chances of getting a yeast infection.4
While there are a few different kinds of yeast infections (systemic, skin, vaginal, penile, and oral), they all stem from the same problem: a yeast to good bacteria ratio that is off. The varying yeast infections' primary difference is where the infection is located. So, if you think you have a systemic yeast infection, focus on regaining that balance sooner rather than later — either through medical treatment, natural methods, or a combination of both.
Did I Get My Yeast Infection From My Partner?
It's possible that you've contracted your yeast infection from your partner. In turn, it's also possible for you to pass on the infection to your partner. This applies to both men and women. Your partner may have an infection and not know it—you can definitely get it through sexual contact.
- Start treatment at the same time. If both you and your partner seem to have symptoms of a yeast infection, you should both start treating it at the same time. Otherwise the yeast infection can keep going back and forth between each other.
- Avoid sexual activity. While you are both treating the infection, it would probably also be a good idea to avoid sexual contact until the symptoms are gone.
- Simultaneous diet changes. Also, since you and your partner may be passing the infection back and forth, you should both consider trying the diet change and yeast treatment (described below) at the same time.
Also, remember that just because yeast infections can spread through sexual contact, a yeast infection is not exclusive to sexual transmission. Anyone can get them—even children and infants since it stems from an imbalance between the yeast and good bacteria. The infections occur typically where there is moisture. On a child or infant, this is typically the mouth or diaper area.
Why Would a Yeast Infection Come Back?
Sometimes yeast infections come back because of a variety of reasons — it could be a symptom of an underlying condition (like diabetes), because of persistent lifestyle habits, or another reason.
You should see a doctor if your symptoms return within two months.6 If you've had more than four yeast infections within a year, you should see a doctor for treatment that might include other kinds of prescription medication since it may be that the yeast infection is not limited to your nether regions and could be a systemic (and more serious) infection where a more thorough solution may be required.
Looking for healing and preventative measures? I strongly recommend a change in your diet as a good place to start. Read below for some diet pointers.
How to Prevent a Yeast Infection
Anything you can do to keep your genital area dry and clean will help prevent a yeast infection.6 This includes:
- Wearing loose pants and cotton underwear
- Avoiding wearing damp underclothes (like swimming suits or hanging out in gym clothing)
- Avoiding scented feminine products and douching
Lifestyle habits like making sure you get enough sleep, maintain low levels of stress, and keep your diet in check can also help you keep you from getting a yeast infection.
Below I talk more about diet changes that are positive both for your health and for reducing the chance you'll get a yeast infection.
Yeast-Infection Prevention Diet
Because a yeast infection means you have too much yeast in your body compared to the good bacteria, the best and more permanent way to treat it is to bring back that balance by starving the yeast and introducing more good bacteria into your body.
Yeast feeds on sugars. So, by reducing your sugar consumption you will help kill off the excess yeast. Of course even if you aren't trying to get rid of a yeast infection it's always a good idea to minimize the sugars in your diet.
Here are things you should add to your diet to help promote good bacteria (and overall good health):
- live yogurt cultures (or take Acidophilus) — though scientific studies have not proven that eating yogurt reduces the chance of or treats yeast infections, many women swear by it
- protein rich foods
- whey protein
- raw garlic
- nuts and seeds
- rice and oat brans
- plenty of water
- fresh vegetables
On the other hand, here are things you should remove temporarily or avoid in your diet:
- all sodas
- foods containing white flour
- alcohol (especially beer) — drinking alcohol causes your blood sugar to fluctuate in an undesirable way
- antacids (because they inhibit the hydrochloric acid that may help keep yeast growth in check)
What Are Good Monistat Alternatives?
Although you can keep using the creams along with the diet change to speed up the recovery, I would recommend that you go for a more permanent, natural solution instead of the creams.
I tend to prefer more "natural" methods where I can use them. That said, Monistat works for many women — remember to check with your doctor if it's your first time experiencing what you think is a vaginal yeast infection to make sure you get the appropriate treatment.
In the long run, it's always best to find a solution that will correct the problem instead of just temporarily treating it. Changing your diet is a great way to start, and hopefully it will help restore balance in your body.
I hope this article helped you understand your yeast infection more and hopefully this helps minimize the pain in the healing process.
Here's to your health! :)
- "Monistat: Frequently Asked Questions." 2017. Monistat.com. Accessed April 6, 2017.
- "Drugs and Medications: Monistat 1 (Tioconazole) Vaginal." (n.d.) WebMD. Accessed April 6, 2017.
- "Vaginal Yeast Infections - Topic Overview." (n.d.) WebMD. Accessed April 6, 2017.
- "Vaginal Yeast Infections - Cause." (n.d.) WebMD. Accessed April 6, 2017.
- Steckelberg, James M, MD. "Male Yeast Infection: How Can I Tell If I Have One?" August 22, 2015. Mayo Clinic. Accessed April 6, 2017.
- Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD. "10 Ways to Prevent Yeast Infections." January 27, 2017. WebMD. Accessed April 6, 2017.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
SidneyJames on September 10, 2018:
Antibiotics cause yeast infections. Unfortunately, this out of our control. I'm irritated I clicked on this page.
Jessica on August 25, 2017:
I agree with frustrated boyfriend. This article is completely useless, you have no actual natural methods that you suggest. You just keep saying you should...bla blah blah is all this is...
Frustrated Boyfriend on August 10, 2017:
How are you gonna "suggest" using more natural methods of treating a yeast infection and then not give any recommendations? Great job, you've written a useless article. Thanks.
Sue on July 17, 2017:
I just finished an antibiotic for a UTI and of course got an yeast infection. I have always used Monistat and got relief but this time OMG.. the itching and burning is something I have never experienced before! I started Googling and that's the worse thing you can do. I now think I have everything else lol. When do you see your doctor? The itching is gone but still have a little burning
Brenda on April 18, 2017:
Monistat3 will work ladies just try it
Chelsea on March 01, 2017:
This information is so inaccurate for many reasons. Minor burning and itching is normal while using over-the-counter medications like Monistat or Vagisil and even often when you use prescription vaginal creams. The type medication that that is used to cure a yeast infection has a side effect of minor itching and slight burning because the vaginal walls skin sensitivity to that medication. Its also important to remember that to if you really have a yeast infection you are experiencing itching and burning via your unfortunate symptoms and often women do itch the areas causing extra irritation. Also while going to the doctor seems like the most popular idea it is okay to use over-the-counter medications for yeast infection because it can be just as effective if you follow the process correctly and start taking a probiotic or Azo for yeast infection prevention as soon as you realize you have the infection. Another important question you need to ask yourself is why am I having this infection. Often the yeast infection is result of change birth control or a new soap. Hope this helps someone.
Kaz on November 22, 2016:
I didnt have the burning everyone has mentioned but OMG! instant itching. I used the one day monistat complete treatment. I thought to myself, heck yeah! 1 day! plus bonus cooling wipes and vulva cream. How perfect for a inconvenient yucky girly situation. Vagina Pill... not bad, cooling wipes... again not bad, feeling rather fresh. Vulva cream... Big NO!! instant horrible makes you want to run to the shower and scratch that itch with a loofah sponge! Seriously, I will never giggle at a dog scooting their butt across a rug again. Heck, after using that cream, I could completely relate!!
HELP on November 19, 2016:
i am in so much pain. it's burning. I can't sleep AAAAAHHHHHH
hannah on July 27, 2016:
This was my first yeast infection, and I believe it was me having a lot of constant water flowing down there. Anyway, I just bought Monistat 3day today, and for the first hour it started to sting and itching. I'm not going to lie I did itch around the area and I felt a lot better. Note that right after I used it, I looked up "Mosistat stings?", and it brought me to another website. I saw that it's an 'oil-based' medicine. Now that I'm reading that an imbalanced of yeast and bacteria, I'm pretty worried that I will now have a bacterial infection. What can I do to prevent a bacterial infection now?
Gladys on April 25, 2016:
Never again will I use Ministat maximum strength. The burning is so bad I can't get out of bed...NEVER AGAIN
Ino on March 06, 2016:
I'm so glad I found this. I just used the first dose of the 3 day monistat and the burning and itching is horrible right now. This happened once before, but the first time I ever used monistat, it didn't do this. Nor did it a few times after that. They must have recently changed an ingredient or something in it...
I was worried because I thought my only options were monistat or prescription drugs (and I mean, come on, who has the time and money to go to the doctor every single time they get a yeast infection?). I take birth control so this happens quite a bit with me. I'm glad there are alternatives.
Izzie on September 03, 2015:
I'm 18 and I'm dealing with my first yeast infection (welcome to the club, I guess?) and I looked this up because I'm having a *terrible* reaction to a generic monistat! The burning was intense and painful for over an hour. I did everything I could to rise the cream out and just now at 90 minutes the pain is subsiding enough to look for an answer. I don't think I'm going to use the rest of the pack, not worth it, just going to keep clean and dry and try some temporary diet changes. Thanks for your help!
Chicago 773 I had a burning reaction from using this cream...on my third day..hopefully burning goes away soon.. on April 22, 2015:
I am using monistat 7 for a yeast infection...first day I use cream burn really bad..on third day now..burning has slow down a lot..it scare when I started process.cause of burning sensation is nothing nice at all..
NewYorkG on February 27, 2014:
Just take the Lady Soma Candida Cleanse Pills. . .they are all natural and work for me and all my girlfriends - You can find them online and read the reviews. Lady Soma is well known for their Candida Cleanse. . .you can take the pills as needed.
Steve Humphries on August 27, 2013:
One of the items you say to take out of diet is fermented foods while others say too add them ... why the difference?
futura (author) on December 14, 2011:
Yikes! That does not sound like fun at all. I hear ya, I wish as a society we would be more open to the idea that you don't have to use meds to correct problems in our bodies. As long as we maintain a balance in our bodies things will right themselves.
I hope everything is good with you now.
Leah on December 06, 2011:
I had a teeeeeerrible reaction to an off brand of Monistat once. I had used it before with only burning but this time...shew....I had blisters, burning, pain, everything (and yes, I was tested for STDS but all negative...it was the OTC stuff that did it.). It took 3 months to fix my side effects because I was also on meds. for the yeast infection and on an antibiotic for a cervical infection. Then I went through 2 UTIs and a bad reaction to a sulfa-based antibiotic. Then I got another yeast infection. It was a rough 3 months. I'm terrified of OTC creams now.
futura (author) on November 30, 2011:
Thanks! I try to get my info right. :)
Mahesh on September 10, 2011:
The thing you told about beer and sugars.. Absolutely true.
futura (author) on July 07, 2011:
I'm glad I could help (and also gave you a chuckle in the process :) ), come back and comment on how well the yeastrol works for you!
Sharon on July 06, 2011:
Loved it, I'm in need of this I've always thought Monistat and I had a problem and I was the only one! I laughed so hard when I saw that. I'm 42, so it's been quite a few years now. Thank god I figured out to take oral 1 day treatment from the dr. but in desperation, when I can't get a perscription, I still have to use Monistat, and scream before I can get to the Dr. and it never works. I'm going to try some new stuff you've suggested, as this week I again have a Y.I., but I'm inspired now! Thanks.
futura (author) on May 03, 2011:
I'm not sure if you can find it in stores, I do most of my shopping online in our days. :)
I added a link at the bottom of the article to their website, they sell it there.
Shantell on April 20, 2011:
I absolutely love your article as well!..thanks so much...but I do have a question...where can I find yeastrol?...is that an OTC item?
Dana on November 03, 2010:
Hi I loved your article! The hit the nail right on the head. One suggestion is to mention terazol..the prescription cream treatment for yeast infections. This cream because it is terconozol based is a lot milder than harsh over the counter monistat. In fact its the only one recommended for use while pregnant.