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Why shouldn't I use over-the-counter clotrimazole for thrush too often?

Posted by Be Well

Why shouldn't I use over-the-counter clotrimazole for thrush too often?
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If you have any concerns about the information below, or need any help understanding it and relating it to your own situation, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Vaginal thrush (candidiasis) is one of the most common genital infections. The infection is usually caused by a yeast called Candida albicans. Clotrimazole products are a common treatment and are available as creams or pessaries from pharmacies. They are also available on prescription.

When you buy clotrimazole over-the-counter (OTC), it should not be used more than twice in 6 months. If you think you've been infected more times than this you should see your doctor to find out the cause. Sometimes, frequent bouts of symptoms are simply due to re-infection with thrush. However, your doctor will want to rule out other possible causes. These include:

  • An underlying condition that can increase your risk of developing thrush. E.g. diabetes, taking medicines that suppress your immune system.
  • There is an infection but it is not thrush. Other infections that can produce symptoms similar to thrush are chlamydia, giardia and gardenerella.
  • The candida yeast causing the thrush has developed resistance to clotrimazole. If this is the case, you will need an alternative anti-candida medicine.

Also, if you have no improvement within 7 days of treatment with clotrimazole, you should go back and see your doctor.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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