Yeast infections can cause a number of symptoms, including bleeding. Light bleeding or spotting is usually nothing to worry about.

But if your bleeding is heavy — or if it continues after the infection clears — it may be a sign of a different underlying condition. Additional treatment may be necessary to ease your symptoms and prevent further complications.

Keep reading to learn more about why bleeding can happen with a yeast infection, symptoms to expect, and when to see your doctor.

A yeast infection is a type of vaginitis, or vaginal inflammation. Vaginitis can cause anything from itching and swelling to pain and bleeding.

Bleeding related to vaginitis is usually light. You may notice a spot of blood in your underwear or after you wipe with toilet paper. A panty liner should be enough to accommodate the bleeding.

You may find that you’re more prone to bleeding if you have complicated or recurrent yeast infections. Frequent vaginitis can cause tears, cracks, or sores in vaginal tissue. This can lead to bleeding or spotting.

In some cases, spotting or bleeding can even be a side effect of treatment. Anything you put into your vagina has the potential to cause irritation and disrupt your pH balance. This includes creams, suppositories, and other topical measures.

Although this side effect isn’t usually listed on the box, anecdotal evidence suggests that this is common.

Other yeast infection symptoms you may experience include:

  • pain and soreness
  • swelling or redness of the vulva
  • itching at the vaginal opening
  • rash
  • burning while urinating or during intercourse
  • watery discharge
  • thick, white discharge

If you have a complicated or recurrent yeast infection, your symptoms may be more severe. You may experience more intense redness, swelling, or itching. This could result in tiny cracks or sores on your skin.

If you’re experiencing other symptoms, bleeding could be a sign of another underlying condition. Unless you’ve already received a diagnosis, make an appointment with your doctor. If left untreated, some conditions can cause infertility or other complications.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

A UTI can affect any part of your urinary system. This includes your:

  • bladder
  • urethra
  • ureters
  • kidneys

Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria usually cause UTIs.

Your individual symptoms will depend on which area is affected. In addition to spotting, you may experience:

  • frequent urination
  • releasing small amounts of urine
  • burning during urination
  • red, bright pink, or cola-colored urine
  • cloudy urine
  • strong-smelling urine
  • pelvic pain, especially around the pubic bone

Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

BV is another type of vaginitis. It’s caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina.

As with yeast infections, BV can cause bleeding or spotting. It’s actually the most common cause of vaginal discharge in women who are premenopausal.

Symptoms aren’t always present with BV. If other symptoms do occur, you may experience:

  • a fishy odor
  • gray or white discharge
  • thin or foamy discharge
  • burning during urination
  • itchiness

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis, or “trich,” is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. This single-celled parasite is passed between partners during condomless sex.

In addition to light bleeding, you may experience:

  • green or yellow discharge
  • frothy discharge
  • an unusual vaginal odor
  • itching
  • swelling
  • burning during urination
  • lower abdominal discomfort
  • pain during sex
  • bleeding after sex

Other STIs

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are bacterial infections spread through condomless sex. They typically don’t cause symptoms.

If symptoms do occur, you may experience:

  • bleeding between periods
  • abnormal discharge
  • frequent urination
  • painful urination
  • frothy urine
  • pain during sex

If left untreated, STI-causing bacteria can move from your vagina into your pelvic organs. This is known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

In addition to bleeding or spotting, you may experience:

  • abnormal discharge
  • an unusual vaginal odor
  • lower abdominal or pelvic pain
  • pain during urination
  • pain during sex
  • bleeding after sex
  • fever
  • chills

It’s a good idea to see your doctor whenever you experience irregular bleeding outside of your regular menstrual cycle.

You should see your doctor right away if:

  • your bleeding is heavy
  • you develop a fever
  • you develop new or otherwise unusual symptoms

You should also see your doctor if:

  • this is your first yeast infection
  • you aren’t sure whether you have a yeast infection
  • your symptoms don’t respond to over-the-counter treatments

Your doctor can assess your symptoms and advise you on any next steps. STIs and other infections are usually treatable. If treatment is delayed, you may experience long-term complications.