Thursday, August 4, 2011


Morado; Spanish for purple.. the concord hue beloved by many, and a lovely accent for almost any skin tone when use appropriately.... today, While admiring an elderly patient's carefully coiffed lavendar curls I was reminded of the good bad and ugly of the color purple and it's application to community health;

Gentian violet...aka "crystal violet", no, it's not a new urban form of Meth, but an inky dark fluid just this purple side of indigo.... some science geeks (myself included) may remember this lovely substance along with iodine tipping us off to the leakage of starch through a plastic cellulose "baggie" immersed in water during a freshman biology lab (osmosis anyone?)... my patients, on the other hand, apply this willie wonka fluid liberally to ANYTHING that might need curing/disinfecting/fixing/healing/younameit.

I have seen bright purple fingers, patches on limbs, cuts, and burns.. but only one purple penis. Yes, that's right, penis.

I will never ever forget the day that a kind elderly Senor stepped into my office, complaining of a problem with his "parte"... when he presented said "parte" it was stained a bright purple that only meant one of two things; extreme emergency, or case of purple violet dye. "Sir" I asked in spanish "did your penis start off as purple or did you put something on it". I breathed a sigh of relief as he described application of Gentian Violet due to an itchy rash he had experienced the prior week. Return to clinic the following week, and d/c application of lovely purple stain in the meantime revealed classic case of balanitis.... that had been covered up by all shades of glorious purple.


  1. The purple penis would have worked if he was a Minnesota Viking fan. Sorry could not help myself.

    It's also a good post because you made me look up balanitis

    1. ahh yes, you will certainly run into a "nice " case of balanitis if you have not already! Also check out phimosis if you haven't already (and are doing any pediatrics) \

      - glad you are enjoying the blog :)

  2. :) too funny... being from the Midwest originally, I can appreciate this every so much.

    Balanitis... usually referring to a candidal infection in men, more common in diabetics (due to high levels of sugar in urine and decreased immuno response) I find that it's often the reason ( in addition to erectile dysfunction) that brings poorly controlled older diabetic man back to the clinic after a lapse of care. For these gentlemen, they need several weeks of clotrimazole or miconazole cream, and I usually throw in a diflucan (one dose now, one in 7 days) if the case is bad enough (or their diabetes is poorly controlled enough that I suspect recurrence without further treatment)