Curing Thrush with Gentian Violet

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I first noticed the white stuff when Noah was nursing.  I thought it was some milk that had dribbled out onto his lips.  Then later when I buckled him into his carseat I saw it again.  I tried to wipe off the “white skin” on his lip, but it didn’t go away.  That is when it hit me.  It wasn’t milk or chapped lips.  Noah had thrush.

Thrush is an oral yeast infection that is common in babies.  The yeast can also spread to the baby’s bottom and/or mom’s breasts.  Noah was over a year old when we developed thrush.  I thought only infants contracted thrush, but my pediatrician said it can happen in toddlers also.

Thrush can be really hard to get rid of, but I was confident that I had caught Noah’s early.  We would beat the yeast quickly.  We started round one of the medication.  Four times I day I had to spread the medication all over the inside of Noah’s mouth.  He wasn’t impressed.  I wasn’t impressed either.

The medication needed to be used until Noah and I weren’t showing any symptoms of thrush for at least a week.  We stopped using it and a couple days later I noticed white patches in Noah’s mouth again.  We started round 2 of medication.

This whole time we needed to be very careful about how often he used the same sippy cup.  I stopped brushing his teeth so we wouldn’t be contaminated by his toothbrush.  It was a pain in the neck and it didn’t work!

Noah and Gentian Violet

I reached out to my lactation consultant begging for a miracle cure from our stubborn thrush and she had one!  She suggested I try gentian violet.

Gentian violet is not a medication.  It is a dye that I spread all over the inside of Noah’s mouth, his bottom, and my nipples.  It works by cutting off the oxygen supply to the yeast.  In just three days we were yeast free!

Forgive me for the terrible picture quality above.  I tried and tried to get a good picture of Noah with his purple lips, but my squirmy boy was not interested.  Thank goodness Noah didn’t look like that for long!

Several months later I had a girlfriend reach out to me about her battle with thrush. She and her son had been passing it back and forth for months. She was experiencing so much pain while nursing that she was ready to give up breastfeeding. Thankfully, I was able to save the day and deliver some gentian violet to her doorstep!

Why don’t more moms turn to gentian violet right away when they see signs of thrush?  Why would anyone do round after round of medications when they could eliminate the yeast in just three days with gentian violet?  Probably because it is messy.  You have to be very careful with it because it will stain everything purple.  In reality, it sounds much more intimidating than it actually is.

Tips for Curing Thrush with Gentian Violet

After using gentian violet with my son, I came up with 15 Tips for Curing Thrush with Gentian Violet that I shared on Breastfeeding Place.

My girlfriend asked me, “Why don’t more people know about this stuff?!  When you Google “thrush,” the first thing that pops up should be gentian violet!”  I agree!  This stuff works wonders.  I urge you to please share 15 Tips for Curing Thrush with Gentian Violet with all the moms you know.  Share it on Facebook.  Pin it on Pinterest.  You just might save the day for a desperate mom in need of a cure for thrush.

Have you ever battled thrush?  Did you try gentian violet?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Excess Lipase Acitivity


  1. Rebekah,
    I read your experience with Thrush and can totally relate. My baby, now almost 40, developed thrush when he was about 6 weeks old. The doctor prescribed medication, went two rounds of that and still no results. The only thing that worked was gentian violet. I can still remember my purple nipples and his purple lips. I can’t remember the medication but my son turned extremely pale and the doctor became very concerned. I would definitely recommend Gentian violet

    1. Janet, I’m glad gentian violet worked well for you. That sounds like it must have gotten a bit scary there with your son’s health. Yikes!

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. I have 2 children, my daughter now 17 and son is 4 years old and they both had thrush. When my daughter was 2 years old she had it and I tried every prescribed medication. My mom suggested Gentian violet and in 3 days the thrush was gone . When my son got it, I didn’t bother going to the doctor, I went and got a gentian violet and the rest is history!
    It’s even used by people for ring worm or fungal treatment.
    I’m glad people are finding out more about it’s uses!

  3. Hi Rebekah,

    Very very interesting, we have been battling trush for a few month now.. is it really safe to use that stuff? Just wondering because when I wanted to order it at the pharmacy they told me not to use it Because it’s not safe… help please, I really need to get rid of this trush. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Helen, you should consult your doctor or lactation consultant. I am not a medical professional. So while I felt comfortable using gentian violet, I have no authority.

  4. HEy there! My 6 week old and I are battling thrush right now, we are flying to California in 3 days and I was hoping the medicine would’ve cleared it up in time. I’m going to purchase this today. How long were your sons lips purple?

    1. Sorry for my delayed response, Caitlin. My son’s lips weren’t very purple for long. You’ll notice if fade quickly after about 24 hours.

  5. Currently battling thrush with my 2.5 week old. The Dr initially prescribed Nystatin (meds) but said if I didn’t see an improvement in a few days, to get the gentian violet. Once I saw our GP she told me to immediately switch to the GV as it’s “the worst case of thrush she’s ever seen.” My poor girl! Of course I can’t find it anywhere in my stupid town and had to order it in… now I have to wait 4 days for it 🙁 My nipples are so sore I’m struggling to breastfeed. I’m keeping at it but it’s painful. I can’t wait to get the GV so we can both be better. In the meantime the meds are working but very slowly. But I just wanted to comment and say that some Dr’s *are* with the times and will recommend it 🙂

    1. Dana, it is wonderful that your doctors are on board to use GV. But I am so sorry about the bad case of thrush!!! I hope the GV clears things up for you right away, and you can find some relief soon.

    1. I used it on my child under the direction of my lactation consultant. I also recently used it with my new baby with the approval of my pediatrician. However, I highly recommend you consulting with your own doctor.

  6. Gentian violet works wonders for thrush me and my son (now a month old) were fighting this same losing battle I changed doctors to one closer to home and he told me to use Gentian violet. Completely safe for me and baby beat the thrush in only two days!

  7. Hi Rebekah,
    How many times do you apply GV as me and my daughter are fighting thrush and are on second dosage of medications. :”( thank you so much.

    Patty R.

  8. If I do the treatment at night, coat my nipples and babies mouth, how long until I can wipe it off my nipples? Before the next feed? And can I wipe it off babies face too? And then do it again the next two nights.

    1. Shannon, sorry for my delayed response to your questions. You can’t really “wipe it off” once it is on. It is a dye, and it stains the skin. It will wear off, but you can’t really wipe it off.

    1. Yes, you do need to dilute the gentian violet. It is sold in different concentrations, usually 1% or 2%. You need to dilute the dye to 0.5% before using it on your baby. The pharmacy can give you a small syringe to help you measure out the dye and then add the correct amount of water.

      For 1% Gentian Violet – 1 part dye & 1 part water
      For 2% Gentian Violet – 1 part dye & 3 parts water

      1. Hello, I went to purchase some today and was curious to which one to use. The one I seen was external only and it was for wounds. Is the picture of the bottle above what you used to help mouth thrush?

        1. Yes, the one pictured is what I used. It will probably not say anything about thrush on the bottle.

  9. On diluting the 2% G/V, when you say one part dye to 3 parts water, do you mean 3cc’s of water for every 1cc of G/V? Just wanting to make sure I dilute it right as to not harm my sweet baby. Thank You so much for all the wonderful advice on thrush. It’s all been very helpful to us.

    1. I use an eye dropper to measure out water to GV ratio
      Btw everyone
      I am using this on myself for thrush caused by antibiotics and just so you know it tastes awful!
      I know the moms are generally the ones putting it on the nipple and not in your mouth. Just thought youI should know.
      Good luck everyone

  10. Does GV work for thrush deeper in the breast? My nipples don’t really look different but I feel the shooting pains in my nipples and ariola when my LO nurses and it’s hurts a lot.

    1. I would think that it is worth a try. Of course the pain could be from something else. Are there any other signs of thrush? Are you ovulating? That can also cause nipple soreness for some women.

  11. I’m battling thrush almost 2 months, my baby girl is a little over 2 months I just bought Gentian violet so I use the attached wand to paint my nipples? Or will I contaminate the gv.?

    1. Agnes, I would use a separate dish and q-tip to apply the gentian violet to your nipples. Did you read the article linked above for more helpful tips? That article talks more about the need to dilute the gentian violet, which is the main reason why I wouldn’t dip straight from the original container.

  12. What was your routine with the gentian violet? I put it in my little ones mouth and then on my nipples as directed but when she nurses quite a bit comes off mu nipples, should I reapply at that point or just wait for the next night to do another dosage before bed? Also, did you use anything else on your nipples during the day after feedings like coconut oil or apple cider vinegar? We haven’t had thrush very long but I am already over it, and I want to nip it in the butt and get rid of it as fast as possible for my babe.

  13. HI there, my daughter is almost 4 weeks old. I was started on an antibiotic for Masitis last week and my poor babe got thrush. We exclusively breastfeed. I have started the GV lastnight, in the baby’s mouth, diaper rash, and on my nipples. My question is.. did you do anything else to treat yourself? I don’t seem to have many symptoms of it myself, other than some very very mild burning sensation in my breast. I’m just concerned that somehow I will continue to recontaminate..

    1. Treating in those three areas should be sufficient. If the burning doesn’t stop, consult your doctor or lactation consultant.

  14. I read all the comments above. They’re all related to thrush in babies. I am a 75 year old woman and apparently got thrush from two different antibiotics while having pneumonia. I have tried a little of everything and so far nothing is working. I did find GV in a locally-owned And operated family drug store in my town. I want to start on it tonight but I need to know something about how to treat it in the mouth of the adult. My plan is to use Q-tips for each different section of my mouth. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. I am not a medical professional, and I do not have experience with adult oral thrush. All that to say, I would think you could use the same q-tip for your entire mouth. Don’t forget to dilute the GV.

  15. Hi there, I didn’t dilute the solution but I didn’t put if directly in my baby’s mouth just on my nipples. I got the topical solution 1% will it harm my baby?

    1. I suggest following the instructions outlined in the post. It is not recommended to only treat your nipples. It is also not recommended to use the solution at full strength.

  16. Hello, im on the third day with gv and I still see white stuff inside her mouth and gum… she is only 3 weeks old …how long do I have to use it to see improvement ? Thank you

    1. You should see improvement after one day. One treatment is enough to kill the thrush, but it is advised to do it three times just to be sure you don’t miss any spots. If you miss a spot with the application, the thrush will still survive in that spot.

      Are you sure you are truly swiping her ENTIRE mouth? Are you sure the white you see isn’t milk from her eating?

  17. Hi Rebekah,
    My baby is 3.5 months & we’ve been dealing with thrush since she was 2 months old. I’m so sick of it & administering nystatin 4 times a day to my poor lil bub. I’m trying GV at the moment, I’m on day 2 of the application & she only has it on the back of her tongue. I don’t see it disappearing in 3 days as it’s still there even after applying GV 2 nights in a row. Can I continue the GV treatment longer than 3 days?

    1. Honestly, I’m not sure what to advise. I’m not a medical professional.

      But if it is still on the back of the tongue, then you are not covering the back of the tongue. The thrush is killed by being coated with the GV. Any place you don’t hit will continue to thrive.

      The way it was explained to me by my lactation consultant is that the GV works with ONE application. The only reason why they suggest three is to account for human error and to make sure you really get every single spot. Does that make sense?

      I know that it is so hard to see what you are doing. Rather than looking to see that I got it everywhere, I followed a pattern and worked my way through the mouth trying to rub the q-tip on every section.

      I would think that you can use it beyond three days, but maybe check with a doctor.

  18. GV doesn’t always work. I very thoroughly covered all affected areas for four days and had no reduction whatsoever.I’m glad many people have good results, but it is by no means a guaranteed “cure”. Still battling thrush, 3 months later, after 2 rounds of GV (with a recommended break in between).

  19. Ok so I use the GV and I’m wondering! How long does it take for things to clear up and how do you no it worked on your breast because I used it three days in a row and my nipples are still a little tender. It looks like it’s going away on my baby all though there is still some white stuff on his tongue what do you think. How many times a day and how much do you use.? I want to make sure I’m doing it correctly.

    1. I am sorry for my delayed response. I hope things have improved for you by now. In the past, I used GV once a day for three days with success.

  20. Just because there’s purple all over my babes mouth does that not mean I’ve coated all the areas? It’s hard to tell with it being so purple if we’re making any progress on the thrush.

  21. Is anyone else concerned with how awful Gov tastes and how much it burns? Me and my 13 month old have gotten thrush for the fourth time and this time it spread all over my body (mouth, nipples, vaginal) so I decided that instead of doing the dreaded nystatin that hardly ever works, I would swab my tongue. I nearly threw up! Now I feel awful for giving this to my son so many times.

  22. Good day. Thank you for this article. Please can you kindly tell me how you diluted the Gentian Violet. Thank you

    1. Gentian violet can be picked up over the counter at most pharmacies or on Amazon. It is sold in different concentrations, usually 1% or 2%. You need to dilute the dye to 0.5% before using it on your baby. The pharmacy can give you a small syringe to help you measure out the dye and then add the correct amount of water.

      For 1% Gentian Violet – 1 part dye & 1 part water
      For 2% Gentian Violet – 1 part dye & 3 parts water

  23. Crossing my fingers this works. I got thrush after being put on antibiotics but can’t really afford to dish out money for another hospital visit. Thank you for the advice.

  24. Hi
    Would it be ok to do the application during the day rather than at night? So I don’t get it all over the sheets? Also wouldn’t the baby get enough in his mouth from sucking the nipple during breastfeeding if it’s been applied to the nipple?

    1. If you do it during the day, you run the risk of getting it all over everything else. I highly recommend sacrificing a set of sheets rather than all the other stuff you use during the day. Also, it never got on my crib sheets that badly.

      Applying it to the nipple before nursing will not be enough. You need to physically cover every little bit of baby’s mouth. Any part that isn’t covered will still allow the thrush to survive.

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