How to Apply Vaginal Cream

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You’ve been to the doctor and have been given a prescription for vaginal cream so as to treat a vaginal infection or a hormonal vaginal cream to maintain vaginal health after menopause. If you have never used a vaginal cream before, you may not know how. Here are step-by-step instructions that will make vaginal cream application quick and easy.

How to Apply Vaginal Cream

Illustration by Brianna Gilmartin, Tips For Healthy Living

When to Apply Vaginal Cream

Using vaginal creams is easiest if it’s done before going to bed, in order to help the medicine stay in place and prevent daytime discharges. If you need to apply it more than once daily, check the instructions for how the applications should be spaced.

You may want to wear a panty liner if you are not going to be going to bed immediately after applying the cream. Do not use a tampon as it can absorb the drug.

If you were planning on applying the cream before bedtime and realize in the morning that you missed a dose, check the instructions to see if they tell you what to do or call your pharmacist. Be sure to set reminders for yourself so you don’t forget the next dose.

If using a vaginal cream saved from before, check the expiration date and throw it away if it has expired. Many prescriptions creams are intended for one use only and are not meant to be saved. Check with your doctor if unsure.

How to Apply Vaginal Cream

Applying vaginal cream is a pretty straightforward process. All you’ll really need is a towel and some soap and water. To begin:

  1. Find a comfortable place where you can lie down while applying the cream. Your bed can be an ideal option, though you may want to use a towel underneath you in order to prevent any cream from spilling on your linens.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  3. Open the tube.
  4. Screw the applicator nozzle onto the tube until it is secure but not overly tight.
  5. Gently squeeze the tube from the bottom to force a sufficient amount of cream into the applicator barrel. Make sure it is enough to reach the prescribed dose. Most applicators provide markings to indicate where you should stop.
  6. Unscrew the applicator from the tube.
  7. Lie on your back with your knees drawn toward you. Gently insert the applicator deep into your vagina. Press the plunger downward until it reaches its original position.
  8. Note, if you are pregnant, insert the applicator gently and don’t insert it past the point where you feel resistance.
  9. Wash your hands with soap and water after applying the cream.
  10. Reusable applicators should be cleaned by pulling the plunger to remove it from the barrel and washing it with mild soap and warm water. Wipe it dry and allow it to air dry while disassembled. You can assemble it to store away once it is dry, such as in the morning if you are using it before bedtime.
  1. Never boil your reusable applicator or use extremely hot water, as this can cause the plastic to melt or deteriorate. 

Other Important Tips

Most vaginal creams should be stored at room temperature. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about storing your vaginal cream.

If you are using vaginal cream to treat an infection, it’s best to discard the applicator once you have finished your course of treatment. That would help prevent transferring yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms if you were to reuse the applicator in the future.

If using an antibiotic cream to treat bacterial vaginosis, use it exactly as prescribed and never stop early, even if the symptoms resolve. Doing so increases the risk of antibiotic resistance, making the infection harder to treat in the future.

Finally, never share vaginal applicators with others, even if it has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Doing so risks the inadvertent transmission of bacteria and other organisms from one person to the other.

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