Can a Yeast Infection Cause Bleeding?

Many people are familiar with the symptoms of yeast infections, but they may not know that it can cause a little bleeding. If those who have a yeast infection notice blood after wiping, it might be alarming and make them wonder if they have a yeast infection or something more serious.

Yeast infections (also called candidiasis) commonly occur in women when there is an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. When it affects the vagina and the tissues at the opening of the vagina (vulva), it's called a vaginal yeast infection. The human body has Candida at all times and the immune system is tasked with controlling its growth. If your vaginal chemistry gets thrown off balance, the normal yeast that live in your vagina can grow too much and lead to an infection. This can be caused by many different things, such as a weakened immune system, pregnancy, and even normal hormonal changes during a menstrual cycle.

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Yeast Infections and Bleeding

A yeast infection can lead to minor bleeding, but it may not occur in everyone or every yeast infection a woman gets throughout her life. Typically, the bleeding is nothing to be worried about. It is caused by small cuts, tears, or sores in vaginal tissue that can occur because of the infection. Those most at risk of having bleeding during a yeast infection are those who have recurring yeast infections.

A yeast infection is a type of vaginitis, which refers to several disorders that cause vaginal inflammation. The inflammation can lead to pain, swelling, itching, and bleeding. Vaginitis is usually a result of a change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria, an infection, or reduced estrogen levels after menopause. There are seven common types of vaginitis, and yeast infection is one of them. The other six include bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, chlamydia or gonorrhea, viral vaginitis, noninfectious vaginitis, and atrophic vaginitis.

These conditions present similarly in terms of symptoms. All require different treatments and thus should be investigated by a doctor before you try any over-the-counter medications. The types of vaginitis and other conditions can also cause bleeding similar to that of a yeast infection.

When Is Bleeding Not Normal?

If the bleeding you are experiencing during a yeast infection is heavy or doesn't go away after you have gone through treatment, it could be a sign that the cause of the bleeding is not the yeast infection. If that is the case, contact your doctor and they can help you find out why you're bleeding.

Other Symptoms          

Not everyone experiences bleeding when they have a yeast infection, so it's important to recognize the other signs of a yeast infection. The symptoms that occur in someone with a vaginal yeast infection, from most to least common, include:

  • Extreme itching around and inside of the vagina
  • White or yellowish discharge that is watery or chunky in nature
  • Swelling and redness of the vulva and vagina
  • Small cuts or cracks in the skin
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Other Causes of Bleeding

Bleeding caused by a yeast infection tends to be very mild and is usually only found in small amounts. If the bleeding is on the heavier side, it may be a sign that the bleeding is not caused by yeast at all. A few other conditions can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection of the vagina. It occurs when the good bacteria that live in the vagina, known as Lactobacilli, are replaced by bad microorganisms that live in the vagina like Gardnerella vaginalis, Prevotella, Peptostreptococcus, and Bacteroides.

These anaerobic microorganisms grow in abundance within the vagina and can lead to symptoms such as a fishy odor and white discharge. It is the most common type of vaginosis in women of childbearing age and has been shown to lead to reproductive complications.

Other common symptoms of BV include pain, itching, and burning in or around the vagina and burning during urination.

Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Yeast Infection

Bacterial vaginosis can also cause bleeding similar to that of a yeast infection. Both conditions are very common, so it can be hard to differentiate between the two. One symptom that occurs in BV but not in a yeast infection is a fishy odor.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection is caused by microscopic organisms, such as fungi, viruses, or bacteria, but the majority of UTIs are caused by bacteria. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder, and a UTI can affect any part of that system. However, it is usually only present in the urethra and bladder.

The symptoms of a UTI will differ depending on where in the urinary tract system it affects. For UTIs in the lower urinary tract, symptoms may include:

  • Pain or burning while peeing
  • An increased need to pee without the ability to go
  • More frequent urination throughout the night
  • Cloudy urine
  • Increased urgency to pee
  • Pain in the lower stomach or back under the ribs
  • Either a very high or low temperature
  • Blood in the urine 

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that has been shown to affect millions of adults each year. It is a type of parasitic infection caused by the protozoan parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms are only present in roughly 30% of those who have the infection.

When people do present with symptoms, they are different in both men and women. In women, the symptoms of the parasitic infection include:

  • Discomfort while urinating
  • Itching and burning of the genital area
  • Soreness and redness in the genital area
  • Changes in discharge that can be white, yellow, or greenish with a fishy smell

A trichomoniasis infection can heighten the risk of spreading other sexually transmitted infections such as HIV because of the inflammation that occurs in the genital area. Bleeding that occurs in this type of infection stems from the cervix and is often referred to as a "strawberry cervix."

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is another STD that can cause symptoms similar to those of a yeast infection. Research has shown that it was one of the two most reported STDs in the United States, and it is estimated that over 500,000 new cases of the infection were reported in 2018.

Most women who have gonorrhea do not show symptoms, but when they do, they include:

  • Pain or burning while peeing
  • An increase in vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between their periods

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is another STD that is commonly asymptomatic. If a chlamydia infection goes untreated, it can lead to fertility issues or an ectopic pregnancy. Studies have shown that cases of chlamydia among young adults had been rising steadily from 2007 to 2016, with over 10,000 cases per 100,000 people that year.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Burning during urination
  • Abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis 

The infection can also cause bleeding between periods caused by inflammation. The bleeding could be heavy or light. Sometimes cramping or a dull or sharp pain in the lower abdomen originating from the pelvic region may also be present.

Chlamydia Complications

One complication that can happen if chlamydia is left untreated is a condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It occurs when the infection reaches the fallopian tubes and uterus, and it is a medical emergency.

Kidney Stones

Urine filters our waste from the body, but when there isn’t enough urine to do that, crystals begin to form from the waste left behind. These crystals join together with other elements and form a kidney stone. This stone will continue to grow unless it is excreted in urine. In some cases, a kidney stone may be passed out of the body with limited discomfort, but if they don’t move out quickly enough, they can cause a blockage and pain.

Since the size of kidney stones differ, the symptoms vary as well. Some kidney stones could be as small as a single grain of sand, while others are pebble-sized. Typically, the size of the stone will determine the severity of the symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Sharp pain that comes and goes in the groin, back, side, or lower belly below the belly button
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A feeling that sand or small substances are being passed through your body as you urinate
  • Painful urination
  • The urge to pee without the ability to relieve oneself
  • Blood in the urine

The pain caused by a kidney stone is usually only present if a blockage in the kidney or other parts of the urinary tract occurs and it can begin suddenly and progress rapidly. In many cases, kidney stones are passed without causing any permanent damage to the urinary tract, but there have been some incidents where repeat bouts with kidney stones can lead to the development of chronic kidney disease.

When To See a Doctor

Bleeding for any reason outside of your typical menstrual period warrants a visit to your doctor. If you suspect that a yeast infection is to blame for the bleeding and it continues following treatment and resolution of other symptoms, talk to your doctor because it could be a sign of another health issue.

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