Written on November 25, 2023 by Amy Harris, MS, RN, CNM. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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You may have wondered, “Can a yeast infection cause bleeding?” Bleeding is not a common side effect of a yeast infection. Vaginal yeast infections are known more for causing bothersome itching, burning, and discharge. However, the longer your infection goes untreated and the worse your symptoms get (i.e., scratching and itching with a vengeance), the more likely you could cause some bleeding. That is why Everlywell wants to help you find comfort and relief from whatever is causing your bleeding or itching as quickly and conveniently as possible.
The fungus Candida causes vaginal yeast infections. The more common symptoms of vaginal yeast infections are [2-4]:
Yeast infections can cause intense itching, making it difficult to sleep or focus on anything else really. Many people rush to treat uncomfortable itching or discharge with over-the-counter yeast infection treatments such as creams and suppositories. Sometimes however, if sensitive vaginal and vulvar tissues are already sensitized and inflamed from perfumes, soaps, douches, or talcum powder, the chemicals and medications in these treatments (especially the concentrated one-dose preparations) can cause painful burning, stinging, and potentially even a small amount of bleeding.
The applicators used to insert the medications could also cause minor cuts or tears in the lining of your vagina, causing spotting.
Vaginal bleeding is any bleeding that comes from your vagina, most commonly noticed as a stain on your underwear, on toilet paper after wiping, or on your bedsheets. Blood coming out of your vagina could be coming from outside of your vagina (your vulva), your vagina, your cervix, or your uterus.
The more likely causes of spotting between periods are :
If your bleeding continues for multiple days, gets so heavy that you are changing a pad or tampon every hour for multiple hours in a row, or you are having other concerning symptoms, a healthcare professional should evaluate you.
Risk factors for yeast infections and certain conditions can make it easier to get yeast infections, such as [2,4,8]:
Some people experience recurrent or chronic yeast infections. Recurrent means you have had more than four diagnosed yeast infections in one year. If this describes your current state of affairs “down under,” you may want to seek the advice of a healthcare provider who can help you identify some of the possible risk factors you might have. Recurrent yeast infections may require treatment with prescription antifungal medications for up to 4-6 months.[2-4, 8-9]
Trying to figure out the exact cause of your vaginal discharge, itching, burning, or even spotting can be challenging, even for people with medical degrees. While many people choose to self-treat with over-the-counter yeast treatments for quick relief, they may only make their symptoms worse.
Research shows that two out of three women who buy yeast infection medicine don't have a yeast infection. Bacterial vaginosis is actually a more common vaginal infection than yeast. So treating with the wrong medication will only prolong your discomfort, potentially increase inflammation, and make other tests a health care provider might do at a later date inaccurate or falsely negative. People commonly mistake bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis for a yeast infection.
So, while it is time-consuming, an inconvenience, mildly embarrassing, and potentially expensive, sometimes an in-person exam is the safest and most effective way to diagnose what type of infection you actually might have.
Your healthcare provider will look for swelling and discharge during the pelvic exam. They may use a cotton swab to take a sample of your vaginal discharge. They may test for STIs during the exam as well. A lab technician can look at your sample under a microscope to see whether there is an overgrowth of the fungus Candida that causes a yeast infection, the parasites that cause trichomoniasis, or the changes characteristic of a bacterial vaginosis infection.[1,3]
No. Yeast infections are not considered to be sexually transmitted infections because you can get a yeast infection without having sex. Yeast infections can spread through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. If you are diagnosed with a yeast infection, your partner does not need to be tested or treated unless they have symptoms. Condoms and dental dams may help prevent getting or passing yeast infections through vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Having sex can sometimes make it easier for you to develop yeast infections for several reasons. If you have penetrative vaginal intercourse, the friction could make inflammation worse. Second, lubricants could disrupt the protective acidity (pH) of your vagina and predispose you to future yeast infections. Finally, having sex when you have a yeast infection could make it last longer or trigger a recurrence of symptoms.
Men can get yeast infections, although they are much more common in people with vaginas. About 15 percent (15 out of 100 men) develop symptoms of a yeast infection of their penis after sexual intercourse with an infected female partner. Uncircumcised people and people with diabetes and penises are more likely to contract a yeast infection through sex with an infected partner.
Unfortunately, three out of four people assigned female at birth will have a yeast infection at some point in their lives. While incredibly common, you want to make sure that your bleeding or uncomfortable vaginal symptoms are not something more serious.
If you're worried about a possible yeast infection or vaginal bleeding in general and want to speak with a healthcare provider, you can do this easily via the Everlywell option for online women's health support. You just book an appointment with a provider who can give you guidance on next steps, which may include prescriptions, test recommendations, and more.