Yeast infections develop due to an overgrowth of the yeast Candida. Anyone can get one, but they frequently occur in the vagina and vulva, and they can cause some bleeding or spotting.

These infections can develop in various locations throughout the body, including the penis and scrotum. In females, the medical term for a genital yeast infection is vulvovaginal candidiasis. Yeast infections in the mouth or throat are called thrush.

Usually, the vagina has healthful levels of yeast. However, changes in the environment of the vagina can cause an overgrowth of yeast, resulting in infection.

Infection and inflammation of the vagina can sometimes cause a small amount of bleeding, as well as discharge, itchiness, and soreness around the genital area.

In this article, we cover other symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection. We also describe prevention techniques, treatment options, when to see a doctor, and what else can cause genital bleeding.

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A yeast infection may cause soreness around the vulva and vagina.

A yeast infection can sometimes cause a small amount of bleeding or spotting.

If a person experiences reoccurring or heavy bleeding, they should see a doctor to determine whether it is a symptom of a yeast infection, a different type of infection, or another underlying health condition.

When a yeast infection is present, a person may notice thick, white vaginal discharge. This may be watery or resemble cottage cheese. It does not typically smell bad.

A yeast infection can also cause:

  • itching, burning, or soreness around the vulva and vagina
  • redness around the vulva and vagina
  • sores or broken skin around the genitals
  • pain during sex
  • pain or a burning sensation while urinating

If a person notices discharge with a fishy odor, they may have another infection called bacterial vaginosis. This can require treatment with antibiotics.

Many other health conditions can cause genital bleeding. We cover some of these in the sections below:

Chlamydia and gonorrhea

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can both cause bleeding.

Some people with chlamydia or gonorrhea experience no symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • vaginal bleeding between periods
  • bleeding or discharge from the rectum
  • a frequent need to urinate
  • yellow discharge from the vagina
  • painful urination

If a person notices these symptoms, they should see a doctor for antibiotic treatment.

Learn more about chlamydia and gonorrhea here.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is an STI that can cause light bleeding after sex. Symptoms usually present in females, rather than males.

Other symptoms of trichomoniasis include:

  • green-yellow discharge
  • itching or burning sensations around the vulva and vagina
  • redness and swelling around the opening of the vagina
  • painful urination and sex
  • lower stomach pain

People with trichomoniasis and any sexual partners can take oral antibiotics to treat the infection.

A UTI

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Common symptoms of a UTI are a fever and pain or a burning sensation while urinating.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause blood to appear in the urine. Other symptoms of a UTI include:

  • pain or a burning sensation while urinating
  • cloudy urine with a bad smell
  • a frequent need to urinate
  • feeling tired or weak
  • a fever

A person should see a doctor if they notice blood in their urine or any of the above symptoms. The doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat a UTI.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones can cause blood to appear in the urine.

Some kidney stones pass out of the body without the person noticing. Larger kidney stones can be painful, and people may experience the following symptoms:

  • an urgent need to urinate
  • frequent urination
  • a burning sensation while urinating
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain in the lower back, groin, and sides of the body

A person should see a doctor if they think they have a kidney stone. If the stone does not pass by itself, medication and shock wave therapy can break up the stone and help it pass more easily.

Also, some home remedies can help relieve the pain associated with kidney stones.

Other factors

The following factors can also result in unexplained bleeding in the pelvic area:

  • long distance running or any type of extreme or vigorous exercise
  • certain medications, such as blood thinners and some pain relief drugs
  • an enlarged prostate (in males)
  • a tumor in the kidneys or bladder

If a person notices blood in their urine or vaginal bleeding between periods, they should see a doctor to find out the cause.

Anyone who suspects that they have a yeast infection should consult a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

The doctor will perform a physical examination of the pelvic area to look for discharge, redness, swelling, and any other signs of a yeast infection.

They may also use a swab to take a sample from the vagina, which they will send to a laboratory for testing. This can show whether there is an overgrowth of Candida yeast.

Antifungal medication can treat a yeast infection. People can take this medication orally or as a topical cream or vaginal suppository.

Prescription and over-the-counter antifungal medications are available. A doctor may prescribe a single dose of an antifungal drug called fluconazole. If a person opts for over-the-counter medication instead, they may need to take it for around 1–7 days.

Before using an over-the-counter medication, it is essential to have a doctor check that there really is a yeast infection, rather than another type of infection. Symptoms of a yeast infection can be similar to those of other infections, such as STIs.

Avoid having sex during treatment because sex can slow down the healing process. Some yeast infection medications can also weaken condoms and cause them to break.

People with reoccurring yeast infections may need a longer course of antifungal medication, possibly for up to 6 months.

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A person may help prevent a yeast infection by changing sanitary products regularly.

A person may be able to prevent vaginal yeast infections from reoccurring by:

  • not using scented products, such as perfumed sanitary pads or tampons
  • drying the genital area well after bathing
  • not staying in wet bathing suits or gym clothes after exercising
  • not douching, as this can create an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the vagina
  • changing sanitary products every 4–8 hours
  • wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing around the genitals
  • wiping from front to back after going to the toilet
  • controlling diabetes and keeping blood sugar levels stable

Yeast infections are easy to treat with antifungal medication.

A small amount of bleeding or spotting can result from a yeast infection. If a person has regular or heavy bleeding between periods, they should see a doctor. This can be a sign of another infection or a different health issue.

Anyone who thinks they have a yeast infection should see a doctor for confirmation and to rule out other types of infection.