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What is Miconazole?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
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Miconazole is the generic name of an antifungal medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974. This medicine can be used to treat several types of fungal conditions such as yeast infections, ringworms, and athlete’s foot. Miconazole is marketed under brand names including Lotrimin and Monistat. The medication can be found in several forms, including suppositories, topical creams, and powders.

Fungal infections are conditions caused by the abnormal growth of fungi. In some cases, such as with Candida yeast infections, the fungi normally exists at the site of the infection. The problem results, however, when there is excessive growth of the material. In these instances, this medication tends to be a popular remedy.

This medication can come in several forms. Vaginal fungal infections are an example of a condition for which it is commonly used. This type of treatment generally involves using miconazole vaginal suppositories or cream. These are internal treatments but instead of being consumed by mouth, they are inserted into the vagina using long applicators.

Vaginal treatments may be available as a seven-, three-, or one-day treatment. For best results, women are advised to use these products at bedtime. They are also advised to be sure that the medication is deposited high in the vagina. It is also important to continue taking the medication for the designated course even if the condition seems to have improved. In many cases, relief is experienced before a person is completely healed, so she should not be fooled by the improvement.

Vaginal fungal infections often result in itching and burning on the exterior of the vagina. To help with this, there are topical miconazole medications. These topical ointments are generally a white cream that can be applied with the fingertips.

Miconazole is also available in other forms such as powder, liquid spray, and gel. These are generally used to treat infections on other areas of the body. For example, the powder may be sprinkled onto the foot of a person suffering from athlete’s foot. The spray may be applied to the legs of a person who has jock itch.

Usually, these products are widely available without prescription. There are not generally any serious side effects associated with their use. A person may experience some burning or irritation during the course of treatment. This medication should not be stored in extremely hot areas, such as those with a temperature that exceeds 86 degrees (30 degrees C).

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Discussion Comments
By JaneAir — On Feb 22, 2012

Miconazole is a really great medication for common problems like yeast infections and foot fungus. However, it might not be strong enough for some types of fungal infections.

I had a friend that had a really bad case of foot fungus that was affecting her toenails also. She tried the over the counter stuff for quite awhile, but it just wasn't effective. She really didn't want to go to the doctor, but when the over the counter stuff didn't work, she pretty much had to.

Her infection was so serious she needed oral anti-fungals, which are stronger than just using a miconazole cream or gel.

By Monika — On Feb 22, 2012

@KaBoom - I prefer to just go to the doctor anyway. I would rather get a prescription for the pill you can take instead of using a messy cream. Plus, I don't know about everyone else, but I always feel a little embarrassed purchasing any kind of anti-fungal (miconazole, clotrimazole, etc) at the drug store. I always feel like the cashier is judging me or something.

If I absolutely can't get to the doctor, I usually try and go to a store that has a self checkout aisle and just check out there.

By KaBoom — On Feb 21, 2012

@simrin - If you are experiencing a yeast infection, you should not have a foul odor. You may have bacterial vaginosis instead, so I would make an appointment with your gynecologist. If it is bacterial, something like Monistat one will not treat it. You will need an antibiotic instead.

Anyway, if you've never had a yeast infection before, they usually recommend visiting your doctor to make sure that's what it is. But after that, usually it's pretty safe to just treat yourself with over the counter miconazole. I'm glad miconazole is available over the counter for those cases.

By discographer — On Feb 20, 2012

This might seem like a weird question but has anyone used miconazole creams to promote hair growth?

I saw on a forum that some people use miconazole cream on their scalp. Apparently micanazole increases blood circulation and so hair growth increases and hair grows faster.

I've actually used micanazole on my scalp before but I had a fungal infection at that time and I used the cream just a few times. I didn't use it long enough to see a difference in my hair growth. But my hair has been falling out and thinning lately. I'm wondering if using miconazole would help?

By fify — On Feb 19, 2012

@simrin-- Well, it's about personal preference and how bad the infection is.

I personally prefer cream micanazole ointments for treating yeast infections. I've tried the tablet ones and did not like the them. The tablet is inserted into the vagina just like the cream, but since it has to melt first to work, it leaks. It's kind of uncomfortable and messy to use.

The cream is much better I think and you should use the 5 or 7 day one. I used the 3 day one once and it wasn't long enough to kill the infection. 5 or 7 day ones are more likely to cure vaginal yeast infections.

Have you seen your doctor yet? You should probably get checked out first. He might suggest a different miconazole treatment or another drug altogether.

By SteamLouis — On Feb 19, 2012

I think I have a yeast infection. My vaginal area has been really uncomfortable lately, itchy and there is a foul odor as well. My pharmacist said to use Monistat for yeast infections but I saw that there are two different kinds available. One is a tablet form and the other is cream. I think both are available as 3, 5 or 7 day treatments.

I'm kind of confused which to use and for how many days. Has anyone used micanazole treatments for yeast infection? Is the tablet better or the cream? Which treatment should I get?

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