Gentian Violet for Thrush

Can Oral Thrush be Treated with Gentian Violet?

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Yes it can. Gentian Violet is a synthetic dye obtained from Rosaniline. It is known and used for its antiseptic properties. It is also used on minor cuts and scratches to prevent infection, because of its antibacterial effects. Plus it is available without prescription.

Is gentian violet safe for baby?

Gentian violet has been used for many years to treat thrush. A recent study done in Australia has linked gentian violet to cancer of the mouth. However, many other professionals around the world believe that it is safe, and continue to recommend it. For this reason, we suggest you use this remedy sparingly, and for as little time as possible. 

What is Oral Thrush in Babies?

Oral thrush is a very common yeast infection.  It is caused by a fungal organism called Candida albicans. This might sound scary, but this microorganism is found in more than 50% of people’s mouths.

It is usually kept under control by other organisms in your mouth, but when your immune system is weak it grows faster.

Symptoms of Oral Thrush in Babies

  • Thrush is seen as a white cottage cheese like substance, found on the tongue, inner cheeks, throat and palate of the mouth. It can also appear in white patches. Under these white patches is a reddish tissue, that may even bleed at some points. This is not the same as normal milk stains sometimes found on the tongue, because it does not rub off with a cloth.
  • Oral thrush can be sensitive and even sore, and your baby may struggle to feed.
  • Your baby may also develop a yeast nappy rash from the fungus as well.

What Causes Oral Thrush?

Thrush is caused by the fungus Candida. But why?

This fungus is already present in most of our mouths, but in a low percentage. This means that it will not bear any symptoms.

The moment your immune system gets weaker, the fungus is not properly kept under control by good bacteria and then tends to grow faster.

When we take antibiotics, it may also lessen all the good bacteria in our mouths, which then causes the fungus to grow more rapidly.

In the case of young babies, they don’t have a strong immune system yet, so they might be more prone to these yeast infections. This is why breastfeeding is important, to boost their immune systems.

Is Oral Thrush Dangerous?

Oral thrush is usually not a serious condition, but can be really painful and uncomfortable.

In rare cases, thrush can have some complications. These complications are normally due to other factors present. For example, a child who has a weak immune system, is more likely to experience complications. In these cases the Candida can multiply and enter the bloodstream and then spread throughout the body, such as the brain, heart, eyes, kidneys, lungs or even the liver.

Treating Oral Thrush with Gentian Violet

Before using Gentian Violet for Thrush

Before using any medicine it is wise to consider the follow:

1.   Allergies

Read the label and the contents and make sure that you are not allergic to anything.

2.   Paediatric

Make sure that the substance is safe to use on children and from what age.

3.   Drug interaction

Note that some medicine may not be used together and might interact.

4.   Other interactions

Some medicine are not to be used with certain foods as the may lessen the effect of the medicine.

5.   Other medical problems

If there is any other medical problem present in your baby, rather ask a health care professional what the effects might be.

How to Use Gentian Violet for Thrush

Make sure you dilute the gentian violet properly. Use the same amount of water and gentian violet solution. For example, 5ml water with 5ml gentian violet.

1.   Use a cotton swab that you placed in the gentian violet solution and cover the affected area (like the baby’s mouth and tongue). Avoid swallowing. 


2.   Use the swab to cover areola and nipple with the gentian violet solution. Leave to dry a bit and then let your baby feed as normal. Repeat on both breasts.

Use until symptoms are gone. The mother and baby should be treated together, even if one of them is showing no symptoms. This is to prevent the infection from reoccurring.

How Long to use Treatment

Treat affected areas at least once a day, for 4-7 days.

Take note, if the symptoms are gone after 4 days, stop treatment. When the symptoms continue, use for a further three days.

If there is no improvement after 7 days, stop the treatment and seek professional help. I say this not because the gentian violet is dangerous, but if it didn’t work after 7 days, it probably won’t work at all.

Tips when using Gentian Violet for Thrush

  • It’s going to get messy! It’s a purple substance and it will definitely stain anything it comes into contact with. After only a few washes, it will be removed from skin and clothing.
  • Rub olive oil around your baby’s mouth (it will make it much easier to remove from your baby’s skin)
  • When using it on your breasts as well, wear breast pads to minimize the staining.
  • Gentian violet dries the skin out. If used on nipples, use with nipple ointment.
  • If you notice any side effects of gentian violet, such as If your baby develops sores in his mouth due to the gentian violet or rejects the breast because of this, stop treatment immediately.

How to Prevent Oral Thrush

Even though we sometimes try to prevent things, it’s not always possible. The important thing is to try to avoid it as far as possible.

  • Sterilize any utensils’ that baby puts in his mouth, including his dummy and toys.
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after changing your baby’s nappy, as the fungus can be spread through the digestive system.
  • Use probiotics (the good bacteria).

Just for Fun
Gentian Violet Explosion

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