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Why is Your Kid Purple?

Written by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC   
Friday, 01 June 2007 00:00
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Why is Your Kid Purple?
Using Gentian Violet
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Using Gentian Violet

Gentian violet (1% solution in water) is an excellent treatment for Candida albicans. Candida albicans is a type of yeast that may cause an infection of skin and/or mucous membranes in both children and adults. In small children, this yeast may cause white patches in the mouth (thrush), or diaper rash. When the nursing mother has a yeast infection of the nipple, she may experience severe nipple pain as well as deep breast pain.


A few notes about Candida albicans:

  • The baby does not have to have thrush in his mouth.
  • A yeast infection of the nipple may be combined with other causes of soreness.
  • Burning pain may be due to other causes, and pain due to a yeast infection does not necessarily burn.


Nipple pain caused by Candida albicans

The pain caused by a yeast infection is generally different from the pain caused by poor positioning and/or ineffective suckling. The pain caused by a yeast infection is often burning in nature, rather than the sharp, stabbing, or pinching pain associated with other causes. Not uncommonly, the pain will begin after a period of pain-free nursing. This characteristic alone is reason enough to try treatment for yeast. However, milk blisters on the nipple also may cause nipple pain after a period of painfree nursing. The pain frequently lasts throughout the feeding, and occasionally continues after the feeding has ended. This is in contrast to the pain due to other causes which usually hurts most as feeding begins, and gradually improves as the baby nurses. Also, the pain may radiate into the mother’s armpit or into her back. For some women, the pain is worse at night.

A yeast infection may be associated with recent use of antibiotics by the baby or mother, but not necessarily. It may cause no change in the appearance of the mother’s nipples or areolas, though there may be redness or some scaling, or the skin of the areola may be smooth and shiny. The infection may be quite severe and may or may not be itchy. Sometimes, the infection may occur only in the breast. At the same time, the breast appears or feels normal. This is not mastitis and there is no reason to treat with antibiotics. On the contrary, antibiotics may make the problem worse.