The difference between Monistat and Diflucan is as follows: Monistat is a topical antifungal, and Diflucan is an oral pill. In simple vaginal yeast infections, both oral and topical antifungals have comparable cure rates of over 90%. Most people prefer the oral treatment as it is as simple as a pill, but topical treatment has fewer potential side effects.
You can use either Monistat or Diflucan to treat vaginal yeast infections; the choice depends on your preference. If you do choose topical therapy (Monistat) it is important to apply it correctly for full effect (ie even if symptoms are only vulvar, vaginal therapy is necessary to fully treat the infection).
People who should seek medical advice from their doctor include those who are immunocompromised, pregnant, have severe symptoms, or have frequent episodes >3 per year. Any of these would put you in the category of “complicated” infection which may be treated differently.
Uncomplicated infections usually take a few days to respond. A single pill of Diflucan lasts for 72 hours.
Monistat and other antifungal topical preparations are available as either suppositories or topical cream. Both forms are very effective if you are comfortable using the applicator and are able to administer the medication properly. Topical medications are good for people who would like to avoid taking a pill due to potential side effects (nausea, headache, stomach ache, liver problems). The main side effect of topical medication can be vaginal irritation.
Fluconazole requires a prescription. It has the advantages of being an easy one time dose. Most people will have minimal side effects (nausea, headache, and liver test.abnormalities) or no side effect. However, some people prefer to avoid systemic medications and treat with local over the counter topical therapies such as Monistat. Ask your doctor which is right for you!