A yeast infection (candidiasis) is caused by the Candida albicans fungus. Yeast infections are common and usually occur in warm, moist areas of the body, such as the mouth and vagina. While the condition is uncomfortable, it is generally treatable with over-the-counter or prescription medications.
People sometimes wonder if a yeast infection can cause sores and blisters. While these are not the most common symptoms, it is possible to get sores with a yeast infection. Blisters, however, are not likely.
What Is a Yeast Infection?
Candida fungus (yeast) lives on the skin and inside the body in the gut, mouth, throat, and vagina. Most of the time, this does not cause any problems. When the fungus grows out of control, it can cause a yeast infection called candidiasis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotics, a weakened immune system, diabetes, and hormonal changes can increase the risk of yeast infection.
The most common areas of the body affected by a yeast infection include:
- Genitals: Vaginal yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis) affects 75% of women at least once in their lifetime. Penile yeast infection (balanitis) affects 1 in 25 males.
- Mouth: Also called thrush, this occurs most often in infants and young children but can affect people of all ages.
- Skin around the nail beds: Also called paronychia, candida can occur after any type of injury to the area on or around the nail bed
- Skin folds: Certain areas of the body, such as the stomach, may accumulate extra fat and the infection may affect folds of skin in these areas.
Yeast Infection Signs and Symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic, common yeast infection symptoms include:
- Burning sensation
- Inflammation and swelling
- Itchiness and irritation
When a yeast infection affects the vagina or vulva, symptoms may include:
- Pain during intercourse or while urinating
- Redness of the vulva
- Thick, white vaginal discharge that looks similar to cottage cheese
- Watery vaginal discharge
When a yeast infection affects the penis (balanitis), symptoms may include:
- Itchy foreskin
- Painful urination
- Red patches and/or shiny, white spots on the penis
- Sores or lesions on the glans (head) of the penis
- White discharge (smegma) under the foreskin
In men over 60, a type of balanitis may also cause sores or lesions on the glans (head) of the penis.
A yeast infection in the mouth (thrush) may cause symptoms such as:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of taste
- Pain when eating or swallowing
- Redness and soreness at the corners of the mouth
- White, raised lesions (sores) on the tongue and inside cheeks
Can You Get Sores From a Yeast Infection?
The prevalence of sores in yeast infections is unknown because many people treat genital yeast infections at home without seeing a medical professional.
Based on the information that is available, it seems that sores are less common in vaginal yeast infections, though they do occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, sores can be a sign of a severe or untreated yeast infection.
Yeast infections on the penis can cause sores on the head of the penis (glans), but not blisters. These painful lesions can break the skin and cause bleeding, which may increase the risk of additional infections from bacteria or viruses entering the body.
Mouth ulcers are very common in thrush. If left untreated, thrush can spread and cause painful sores in the throat and esophagus that can make it difficult to eat and swallow.
Other areas of the body that are warm and moist can also be affected by yeast infections, and may lead to sores and blisters if left untreated.
Can You Get Blisters from a Yeast Infection?
There is no evidence that a yeast infection causes blisters. If you have a yeast infection and notice blisters, you may want to reach out to your health care provider as there may be another condition causing that symptom.
If you experience blisters in your genital area, it may be difficult to tell if they are caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Herpes, for example, is associated with painful blisters that can affect the genitals. Most yeast infections that affect the vagina and penis can be treated at home with natural remedies or over-the-counter treatments, but STIs require prescription drugs to treat.
When in doubt, contact your healthcare provider. They will examine you and ask about your symptoms in order to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Treating a yeast infection should clear up sores caused by the condition.
If you get a yeast infection, your healthcare may recommend a treatment such as an antifungal cream, oral medication, or powders. Treatments vary, depending on the location and severity of the infection.
- Genital yeast infection: Experts advise using topical antifungal creams or suppositories. Many are available over-the-counter and can be found at your local drugstore or online retailers. Severe genital yeast infections may require prescription oral anti-fungal medication, such as fluconazole.
- Mouth yeast infection (thrush): Healthcare providers often suggest the use of antifungal medicines, such as nystatin or miconazole, applied topically inside of the mouth. Severe infections may require oral or intravenous antifungal medication, such as fluconazole.
- Nail bed yeast infection: Prescription antifungal oral medications or medicated antifungal nail polish or creams can be used.
- Skin folds yeast infection: Antifungal powders, such as miconazole are often recommended.
Some people prefer to use at-home remedies to treat yeast infections. However, there is not much scientific evidence to support their use. Home remedies may include:
- Kefir has been suggested as a treatment, but human studies are lacking and the only research supporting its use involved the application of kefir to yeast cells in a lab.
- Coconut oil may be helpful to help heal the skin after a fungal infection, but again, human research supporting its use or its safety is lacking.
- Tea tree oil may help you to treat a yeast infection when combined with traditional treatments but human studies are lacking.
- Garlic might be helpful when taken orally, but studies are preliminary so there is not enough evidence to know for sure if it can be effective.
- Lemongrass might be helpful as an antifungal agent, but studies on humans are lacking.
If your yeast infection doesn't clear up within two to three days after using at-home or over-the-counter remedies, see your healthcare provider. They may prescribe a stronger antifungal medication to treat it.
When to See a Doctor
Yeast infections can occur anywhere on the body where there is moisture. If you notice an itchy, red, or swollen patch of skin that looks like a rash, it may be a yeast infection. If you aren't confident that you have a yeast infection, see your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
In most cases, it's best to consult with a doctor before taking matters into your own hands. This is especially true if this is your first yeast infection or the first time you've had sores. Sores, cuts, and fissures in the skin are generally a sign of a more advanced yeast infection. In some cases, sores or blisters may be a sign of a different health condition, such as a sexually transmitted infection. Visiting a healthcare professional is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.