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What Is Clotrimazole Cream?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By StarJo — On Jan 06, 2013

The clotrimazole topical cream that comes with the kind you insert for a yeast infection helps a lot with the itching on the outside. This is good, because I always itch both inside and out, and scratching only irritates it more.

The cream does burn right after I apply it, but the burning fades in a few moments. It's almost as if the cream is burning off the itch, because as soon as the burn stops, the itching fades.

I think it's great that the manufacturers thought to include this exterior cream in the package. Without an antifungal cream both inside and out, the infection might just keep spreading from one to the other.

By giddion — On Jan 05, 2013

Clotrimazole cream for ringworm works pretty well. The only problem I had while using it was extreme flaking of my skin. It looked as though my leg had dandruff!

The label said that this was a normal side effect, though. Given the choice between leg dandruff and ringworm, I chose the temporary dandruff!

By Kristee — On Jan 05, 2013

@orangey03 – I am afraid to use clotrimazole cream for a yeast infection, because I had an allergic reaction to tioconazole, which is related to it. I had so much vaginal swelling that I was afraid I would be unable to pee!

I inserted the cream with the applicator one night, and the next day, I slowly began to swell. I was itching, too, which made it even more uncomfortable.

I pondered going to the doctor, but I decided to wait. The swelling just got worse, and that night, I decided to visit the emergency room.

All the doctor told me was that I had an allergic reaction and to take antihistamines. He gave me an ice pack and some pain pills, and I owed him $500. I wish I could have figured that out at home!

By orangey03 — On Jan 04, 2013

How much swelling is normal when using clotrimazole vaginal cream? That could get very uncomfortable!

I like using over the counter products whenever possible. I want to try this cream, but I'm unsure if I want to risk swelling.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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