Most vaginal infections can be cured with antibiotics or antifungal treatment. The specific type of treatment depends on the type of infection.
Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics such as:
- This antibiotic may be prescribed as a pill (Flagyl) that you take by mouth, or as a gel (Metrogel-Vaginal) that you put directly into your vagina. It may cause nausea or upset stomach, and you should avoid alcohol while taking metronidazole.
- Tinidazole (Tindamax). This antibiotic is only available as a pill. Tinidazole may cause nausea or upset stomach, and you should stay away from alcohol during treatment.
- Clindamycin (Cleocin, Clindesse), an antibiotic cream that you put inside your vagina. If you have sex during treatment, Clindamycin may weaken condoms, so if you aren’t trying to get pregnant, you should abstain or use a backup form of birth control.
When you take an antibiotic, always take the full dose your doctor prescribes, even if you feel better. If you take less than the full course of treatment, then the bacteria may develop antibiotic resistance and become harder to treat the next time.
Yeast infections may be treated with topical antifungals used inside the vagina. Topical antifungals for Candida include:
- Miconazole (Monistat)
- Clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin)
- Butoconazole (Gynazole)
- Terconazole (Terzol)
These antifungals are available without a prescription in your local drugstore. As with antibiotics, make sure to finish your course of treatment even if you feel better. These treatments may damage condoms or diaphragms, so if you use barrier contraceptives you should avoid sex or use a backup birth control method until you finish treatment.
If your infection doesn’t clear up after you finish treatment, call your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a different topical treatment, or the single-dose antifungal fluconazole (Diflucan) taken by mouth.
The standard treatment for trichomoniasis is the same oral antibiotics used for bacterial infections, metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax). However, instead of a course of treatment, these antibiotics are given as a single large dose, all at one time.
Avoid alcohol for 1 day after taking metronidazole or 3 days after tinidazole. Make sure your sexual partner is treated as well, and avoid unprotected sex for a week after treatment.