12:09 am - 12/15/2006

Personal Experience with Gentian Violet

Hello Vulva-Loving Superstars!

I've noticed that there aren't many (or any) personal experience posts about gentian violet treatments for yeast infections, so I thought I'd post mine. Enjoy!

P.S. The comments include some pictures that are not work safe, so be careful!

After one dose of Diflucan, two 3-day Monistat treatments, one 7-day Monistat treatment, yogurt, and two menstrual cycles I realized I have a recurring YI on my hands (go figure it's my first one, and yes I did get a culture done when I first experienced symptoms to make sure that's what it was). I decided through the advice of some of my friends (jocelina and frolicnaked) to get some gentian violet and try it out. I was prepared to go on a hunt to find it, and at the first Walgreens I went to the pharmacist gave me a strange look saying he hadn't seen or heard of anyone using it in years, "probably because the FDA says it just simply isn't effective." Me - "I've heard otherwise from first hand accounts, but thanks anyways." I asked him where he thought I could find it and he wasn't helpful there either. When I got home I re-read the Yeast Infection Vulvapedia and the section on gentian violet. Since I saw that it was on the Walgreen's website, I decided to call a couple others, and lo and behold the second one had it! I was excited. So I went there and bought the 1 ounce bottle (only two bucks! much cheaper than Monistat), vinyl gloves ($5 for 50), and cotton balls.

Day One: First Application

I use a Mooncup (UK) so I don't own tampons anymore, but I swiped one of my roommate's. I measured out 2 tablespoons of the gentian violet (with the gloves on) into a styrofoam bowl and felt like it was a little too much. I think you could get by with one tablespoon or less, because the whole tampon was soaked in it, as well as two cotton balls, and I still have a lot of excess left over. I put the end of the tampon in the GV and left it there for maybe half an hour. When I came back, it was pretty well soaked. When you're soaking a tampon with a cardboard applicator you really should watch it carefully (and next time I'll only be using tampons with plastic applicators) because the cardboard was so wet that I couldn't get the tampon in. I also made the mistake of thinking that if I did everything standing up (with a lighted mirror and one leg up on the bed) that I would make less of a mess.

Anyone have any tips of getting GV out of the carpet in a rented house? Yeaaah. The tampon was so soaked that when I tried to insert it a ton of it squeezed out on to the floor. I'm super bummed because my landlord is such a dick and I don't think there's any way to get this shit out, it is dye and it does recommend that you not apply it to "ulcerative lesions" since it can tattoo the skin! Anyways, the tampon applicator thing wasn't working out so I peeled the cardboard off of the tampon and tried shoving it in. Again, glad I wore gloves because that stuff was everywhere! All over my ass, my thighs, and needless to say my vulva, which I guess isn't that bad of a thing. It took a bit of shoving and me going "how/why did I ever use these things?!" but I got it in. My vulva was pretty well covered in GV, but I figured it'd be good to add a little more with a cotton ball, so I did. Then I put on an old pair of white cotton underwear (I recommend black because you won't be able to tell that it's stained, but I don't own any black cotton pairs) and a pad. So far it's a lot more relieving than Monistat. No itching, and no burning. There was a little bit of a tingle for the first 10 minutes, but it wasn't an ouch tingle, more of a refreshing tingle (if that makes any sense). A lot of women say their YI is gone after one treatment of this stuff, but I'll probably go for two or three since this seems to be such a resistant YI.

Day Two: Six Hours After Application
Whoa that stuff is purple! My pad and underwear have some bright purple spots/streaks on it (it's a really pretty color though) as well as the bottom of my foot (I'm guessing from the carpet). I got some GV on the toilet seat and stained my fingers a little bit. Next time I remove the tampon I'll be sure to wear gloves, and it's probably a good idea to avoid touching any labium when you're wiping. Otherwise your hands will get purple, my friends. I wore a pad all day because my discharge is purple and so is my vulva and I figured it would be less messy. I took a shower and got some of the GV off, but not much. My skin is a little stained and my fingers a little bit too from washing. I made the mistake (when will I learn?!) of using a light blue towel to dry off. Dark towels are your friend.

Day Two: Second Application
The beauty of GV for me is that I can do the tampon technique any time of the day, and that I don't have to wait until bedtime to do it or get some relief. So after I got home from work I decided to do it again. I still used the one leg up on the bed/lighted mirror technique, but I put a towel on the floor first. I still had enough excess from last night's application to soak up another tampon (so you really do only need one tablespoon, maybe even less). I begrudgingly went out after work and bought a box of plastic applicator tampons (big bummer...the only kinds that come in 3 or 4 packs are cardboard) and those worked much much better. I made sure to watch the tampon soak up the GV (which only took maybe 5 minutes, 30 minutes was definitely overkill last time), put on the gloves, and tried inserting.

I'm not going to lie, it was still a little difficult to push the tampon out of the applicator. It's a little harder to get a grip on the applicator with gloves on, and some GV did leak out again, but not so much that it dripped onto the floor. This time it just went on my vulva, and was very minimal. Not a problem, and much better than last night. I used a cotton ball to apply some more to my whole vulva, and put on a new pad. Six hours later, I put on some gloves and removed it. Much better. I didn't get any more on the toilet seat or my hands. Still leaking purple stuff though, and I'm careful to wipe with caution when going to the bathroom for the rest of the day.

Day Three
Got up and went to work (with a pad on) and started to get itchy, so I figured "screw it, my underwear's already got purple streaks, might as well go all out" and took the pad off. The itching stopped, so I assume I was just chafing a little bit (it is about 20 F degrees here). My white underwear has a purple crotch, but that's ok. Still careful to wipe with caution. I was going to do an application but got tired and lazy. Still got some purple residue/discharge going on.

Day Four
After my shower I had some extreme itching. I'm hoping it's just dry/irritated skin, and not a sign that my YI is coming back, but even if my YI is coming back I don't attribute it to the fault of the GV. I have some heavy duty extreme yeast going on, and I firmly believe that normally one treatment of the GV would have gotten rid of any regular yeast. When I got home from work I did another treatment, and yes, it was still difficult to push the applicator down, but that's fine. Just be patient when you do it and don't start squeezing it in frustration. If you do a little at a time it'll come out eventually.

After Treatment
It took about four days for my discharge to get back to it's natural color, but I'm sure your mileage will vary depending on how much gentian violet you've used and how much discharge you're having. It's interesting to see discharge go from bright purple to lavender though. I think my YI is gone! I'm really hoping. My discharge is back to normal and I'm not experiencing any discomfort. :crosses fingers:

Stain Removal
-For my carpet I found this website with gentian violet removal instructions, and it worked!!! You have to go to the "spot solver" link and then choose "gentian violet" from the drop-down menu. The trick is to act quickly, and I started working on the stain right after applying the GV to myself. I used dishwashing soap and a towel (that wasn't necessarily old), because I was desperate to get rid of the stain and didn't care about a towel when my security deposit was at stake. I put the same towel on the floor when I did later applications, in case any dripped out.
-For the toilet seat I used Soft Scrub Gel with Bleach. It worked, but you probably should apply it to the whole seat. After I just targeted the purple spots, there were white spots, so I bleached the whole thing. Be sure to rinse really well, you don't want that stuff getting on your skin.
-I don't have any tips for clothes, since I don't care about my underwear that much, but if anyone does, let me know and I'll add it here!

-Extremely inexpensive
-Usually works with only one treatment
-Doesn't cause extreme burning or itching during treatment like other methods (e.g. Monistat) do
-Can do the treatment any time, not just at night
-Fairly easy to apply

-Can be hard to find
-Stains clothes, carpeting, towels, and skin, so you have to be careful to protect all surfaces, wear dark underwear, and use gloves
-Difficult to see color and consistency of discharge

After this experience, I will use gentian violet the next time I have a yeast infection. The application process gets better with time, and it's so cheap. I like the fact that I can do the treatment at any time and that it doesn't itch and burn like creams do. I also have gloves and tampons that will go to waste otherwise. I hope this has been useful!
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myfavouritescar 15th-Dec-2006 05:27 am (UTC)
This was a really cool read, hanks for posting it!
jocelina 15th-Dec-2006 05:38 am (UTC)
It's too bad the first pharmacist you encountered was so discouraging. The pharmacist I talked to (also at a Walgreens!) asked if I was buying the gentian violet for a baby with thrush, and when I told her it was actually for me and my yeast infection, she smiled and said, "Well, that makes perfect sense -- what a good idea!"

Also, having tried both tampons with applicators and those without, I would definitely recommend the former for use with gentian violet. The latter are much harder to manage, insertion-wise, and seem to suck up much more of the gentian violet (which is probably why they are so hard to insert -- shoving a soggy tampon into the vagina is not an easy thing to do).

Thank you for making this post! I plan to show it to all of the people who were like, "Violet what? Where? Really?!"
frolicnaked 15th-Dec-2006 05:59 am (UTC)
Very cool. I ended up using gentian violet for the first time toward the beginning of November. This is what I had to say about it:

"OMG, this stuff is amazing!

Oh, and by the way, I'm using it to treat an actual YI because my vagina can apparently conjure one at will. Not really. This one has been kind of simmering since I quit Nuva Ring... 7?... weeks ago. I kept thinking it would just go away on its own; it kept thinking otherwise.

I can't promise anything about its staying power, but the itch relief was pretty much instantaneous. And Walgreen's sold me a 2% solution, which I kind of diluted (roughly half GV, half water) because I thought I'd have to have a fair amount of liquid to get the tampon to soak it up.

I was actually kind of surprised at how easily the tampon-in-applicator soaked up the GV. For some reason -- perhaps my own experience using them for my period -- I thought the very tip might soak it up but the rest would stay abrasively dry. In reality, though it took a few minutes (more than 1, less than 5), the GV mixture did creep its way up the tampon. Since my applicator was white, it was pretty easy to see the dark line through it; I tried to take a digital picture of this phenomenon, but I don't think it turned out very well.

The only downside of the water/GV mixture is that it might be runnier than the solution straight out of the bottle. I failed to account for this when I dabbed the cotton ball on my vulva; as a result, there are a couple of purple streaks down my bum.

And while there was certainly the potential for stainage, the process was somewhat less messy than I'd anticipated. I spread out a couple of dark towels on my living room floor but don't think I actually spilled on them. Additionally, I probably could have completed the process without gloves and without staining my fingertips violet, but the gloves just made it easier.

So my initial response -- though it may change if this doesn't pan out as a cure -- is this: We have found something better than boric acid."

Though strangely, my bottle of gentian violet cost me between $12 and $13 dollars, so I guess it doesn't qualify as uber cheap for me. Boric acid, garlic, and apple cider vinegar would probably all be cheaper. However, I'm nowhere near the bottom of my bottle yet, so it's still way cheaper per use than are OTC antifungal creams.
asunlitrose 15th-Dec-2006 06:43 am (UTC)
Well, my GV was only 1% and 1 ounce (I assume yours was one ounce?) so maybe the strength has something to do with the price? I'm not sure...

Because mine was only 1% I did not dilute and it worked out fine, but I'm sure it had more staining power than a diluted kind...either way I liked it a lot once I got the hang of it.
riot_gurl_86 15th-Dec-2006 06:00 am (UTC)
I was actually considering buy some GV yesterday, because of my YI, but I was in a rush to get to class and get some relief (yay for Azo Yeast!). But, I'm thinking I'll just buy a bottle of it to keep around, just in case.

thanks for the tips!!
frolicnaked P.S. I have pics!!! These are the ones that are safe for work.15th-Dec-2006 06:08 am (UTC)
Here's a pic of all my supplies gathered pre-treatment:

Dark towel, gentian violet, tampons (there's both one with a plastic applicator and an o.b. -- I opted to go plastic for the actual treatment), black undies, gloves, mixing container, and cotton balls.

And here's one of the tampon absorbing the mixture. If you look closely, you can see the faint line of the GV level inside the applicator. My tampon was in the GV solution for less than 5 minutes:

I actually do have pics of my purple crotch but am not so much certain if I should post them here.
malantha Re: P.S. I have pics!!! These are the ones that are safe for work.15th-Dec-2006 06:45 am (UTC)
This isn't meant to be coaxing at all, I just thought it'd be a good place to mention it:

I found the purple vulvas from the Everyday Bodies project to be absolutely fascinating (slightly moreso than the rest, haha). It was coooool.
dealatedwren 15th-Dec-2006 07:15 am (UTC)
how badly does this stain skin?
dealatedwren 15th-Dec-2006 07:16 am (UTC)
because I wouldn't really want a purple vag. :/
mercurywingspan 15th-Dec-2006 07:21 am (UTC)
this is awesome and i was really considering using GV lately but was a little nervous about the whole process.
next time i have a YI i will def. use GV! thanks for this excellent post.
aechei 15th-Dec-2006 07:36 am (UTC)
my only yeast infections have been the very mild sort that are cured with time, cotton panties, ond occasional swipes of vinegar. but if i ever have one that resists the usual polite suggestions that the party in my pants is over, thnxbye, i shall remember to get the badass purple bouncer to frogmarch it on out of there.
lookinfoareason 4th-Jul-2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
yes to all of this.
lethenepenthe 15th-Dec-2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
The purpleness cracked me up, in a good way. Thanks for sharing your experiences! And maybe I'm dim, but despite the name it would never occur to me offhand that it would dye the vag. Will definitely keep g.v. in mind if/when the yeast beast rears its ugly head.
magicdiva YI and GV21st-Jan-2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
So did this work for you - did the YI come back? I've had a nasty one that won't go away. I had 2 doses of Diflucan, 1 1day monistat treatment, 2 3 day ones and 2 7 day ones (my doc said the longer the period of time treats better). I bought some gentian violet and am gonna try it tonight and use it for 4 days as you did but am just wondering if the symptoms stayed at bay for you...? In some other posts I've read some gals complained of it coming back... TY :)
asunlitrose Re: YI and GV22nd-Jan-2007 01:06 am (UTC)
I was fine for almost two months. Putting the nuvaring back in caused me to get another YI, and I used GV for only one day for that, and it's been gone for over a week. So yes, it totally works for me and is my method of choice now. :)

I've stopped using the nuvaring altogether, which has totally bummed me out. It's the perfect HBC for me, except for the YI factor. I'm not sure if the whole four day treatment was necessary for me the first time, but if you want to make sure it's gone you may want to do more than one treatment.
thatgirluhate 19th-Apr-2007 05:05 am (UTC)
Like you, I use a menstrual cup (Diva Cup). So on account of that, I had no tampons either. I did have a menstrual sponge (Sea Pearl) I'd gotten as a 'bonus' during a cloth pad swap I'd participated in. I used 1/2 tablespoon of Gentian Violet and let the sponge soak it up. I then dabbed the sponge (much as you would a cotton ball) over my vulva - inserting afterwards.

I use cloth pads as well - so I just grabbed an old stained pad I wasn't crazy about to catch leaks.

I'm so glad to have come across your post - my purple vagina thanks you!

For those interested in menstrual sea sponges as an alternative to tampons, more information can be found at www.jadeandpearl.com - or with a quick search of 'menstrual sponges'.
___tornprincess 13th-Dec-2008 10:26 am (UTC)
Trying this method now, although, I forgot to wear gloves :| It took about 15 minutes of scrubbing to fade the purple to a diluted look on my hands.
dragonspeaker 5th-Jan-2009 08:50 am (UTC)
I wanted to say thanks for posting this, the detailed account really helped ease my fears about using gentian violet. :)
asunlitrose 19th-Jan-2009 03:58 am (UTC)
You are certainly welcome! :)
falling_luv 12th-Feb-2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
thanks so much for your detailed entry! i am currently suffering from a recurring YI, and after 3 days of the monistat-7, i am getting worse. i think i might consider using genetian violet. i hope i can easily find it!
asunlitrose 17th-Feb-2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Let us know if it works for you! Even though it is messy and a pain in the ass to have a purple vulva for a few days, it still works really well for me.
yrm04 Keeping my fingers crossed11th-Mar-2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
I've had recurrent YI for over 5 years. I have tried everything, to the point that boric acid is no longer working. After purchasing GV on Amazon and waiting patiently I decided to do some more research, and found this posting. Thank you so much for taking your time to do this. I can't wait to get my little bottle and start using it ASAP. I am going nuts right now because of the itch and pain. I am sure my boyfriend is going to make fun of my purple cuchie hahaha, but he is going to have to deal with it if he wants to enjoy some good chuki chuki after my yeast is gone!!!!!

Thanks again and I will definitely re-post after my results. ;o)

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