Clotrimazole cream is an antifungal medication available both over the counter and by prescription. The medication is commonly used for treating mild fungal conditions, including yeast infections, jock itch, and ringworm. Sometimes, it is used for the treatment of athlete's foot as well. Clotrimazole cream is used topically, except in the case of a vaginal yeast infection, in which it is applied inside the vagina as well as in the external vaginal area. When used for fungal infections, it can both fight the infection and help relieve the symptoms associated with it, including itching and burning.
Often, vaginal and skin fungal infections are treated with topical antifungal agents. One of the most frequently used antifungal ingredients is clotrimazole. This synthetic agent is commonly used for a range of minor-to-moderate fungal infections. When a person has a vaginal yeast infection, this agent is inserted into the vagina to treat it and may be spread around the outside of the vagina as well. To treat athlete's foot, jock itch, or other external infections, it is typically rubbed on the skin.
An individual can usually purchase clotrimazole cream over the counter. It is often sold in drug and grocery stores. Sometimes a doctor may recommend it in prescription form by itself or in combination with another medication. Usually, however, the over-the-counter cream is sufficient for treating a fungal infection, but severe or persistent cases may require a stronger treatment or a different type of antifungal medication altogether.
Clotrimazole cream is effective for fighting the fungi that cause infection, though a person may not experience relief right away. In many cases, a person must continue using the cream for several days or even a couple of weeks to get rid of the fungal infection. Often, however, the medication starts working on the symptoms of this type of infection right away. For example, a person may experience at least some relief from itching or burning soon after he begins using it.
Most people tolerate the use of clotrimazole cream well. Like any medicine, however, it can cause side effects. Among the most common side effects of this cream are itching, burning, redness, and general irritation in the treated area. Some people may also experience cramping and swelling while using it. Serious side effects, including hives, bleeding, or blistering, are unlikely to develop but warrant contact with a doctor immediately — abdominal swelling and/or fever also require a doctor's attention.