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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

We are used to hearing about bacterial or viral infections, but fungal infections are maybe discussed a bit less commonly. Fungal skin infections are incredibly common, and are caused by coming into contact with fungal spores, such as on wet surfaces, or through excessive growth of naturally occurring fungus that lives on the skin. It is unlikely to go away on its own and, if left untreated, can lead to some bothersome symptoms, such as itch and soreness.

Miconazole is an antifungal medication for skin infections which comes as a cream, powder, and spray. Miconazole is also known by the brand name Lotrimin.

Who is it for?

It is used for the treatment of fungal skin infections, including athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. Fungi require certain conditions to grow and spread. This includes warmth and moisture. This is why affected areas tend to be between the creases of skin, or in areas that tend to get sweaty.

Miconazole is also available in specific preparations for use in other infections, such as vaginal thrush.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying for a baby, tell your doctor or midwife before using antifungal creams containing miconazole. Most treatments are for skin infections (cream or powder), but be sure to follow the advice of the individual preparation.

How does it work?

Miconazole is effective against a range of different fungi, and works by disrupting the inner workings of the fungus cells. You should start to see an improvement of your symptoms within 7 days, however, it can sometimes take up to 6 weeks to fully clear. Usually, an improvement in your symptoms (itch, soreness) will come before the redness has totally disappeared.

How can I avoid the fungus from coming back?

If you want to reduce the chance of catching a fungal skin infection:

  • Do not share clothing, towels, or other personal items, and wear foot protection in public areas such as swimming pool changing rooms.
  • Wear clean clothes every day, and particularly try and change socks and underwear regularly.
  • Choose breathable, loose-fitting clothing and shoes, and make sure to dry off completely after showering, bathing, or swimming.

Are there any side effects?

As with any medication, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include irritation or soreness in the area where the product is applied.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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