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Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 9032
Experience:  Twenty years experience in active private practice
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Husband leaves purple drool stains on pillow cover.

Customer Question

At night if my husband drools, it will stain the pillow cover purple where it hits. This happens no matter if he is at home, in a motel room, or visiting family. Why does his drool stain purple?

This started about 6 months ago. No new medications etc. but his Niacin dose was increased a couple of months before we noticed this happening. Is there a connection? What type of doctor should he see for this, if any?

Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  PvtCareDr replied 10 years ago.


Is there any history of gingivitis or other dental pathology ?

Since how long is he having these symptoms ?

Any investigations done so far ?

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
He had a "deep" gum cleaning about a year ago, but he was told that he just needed a good cleaning. No other problems as far as dental. We have noticed this going on for abvout 6 to 8 months. He hasn't seen anyone for this. It seems like such a silly symptom, and there aren't any other symptoms that go with it.
Expert:  PvtCareDr replied 10 years ago.


In my opinion Niacin can't cause the drooling.

An Ear Nose Throat Surgeon should be consulted.

Please check this link

Customer: replied 10 years ago.

Why does the saliva stain the pillow purple? It is all pillows, not just the one's in our house. This has happened to pillows in motel rooms as well.

Expert:  PvtCareDr replied 10 years ago.


Saliva is usually colourless but purple saliva depends upon the type of dinner taken.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
The saliva isn't purple when it come out, it stains the pillow cases purple. And this is all pillow cases, not just the ones at our house. This has happened at motels and other places he has spent the night. So it isn't because of the soap we use, and it has nothing to do with what he had for dinner, he brushes his teeth after dinner like most people.
Expert:  Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD replied 10 years ago.


The first explanation that comes to mind is that there is some amount of iodine in your husband's saliva - either from the gum cleansing, or from the toothpaste, or from seafood (if he eats these at dinner). Iodine in saliva will be colorless, but if it comes in contact with starch in the pillowcase, it will turn purple. A cotton pillowcase may have starch added to it. Or, since cotton itself contains some amount of carbohydrates (starch is also a carbohydrate), it could react to the iodine, if any.

Another explanation (a bit far-fetched), is the excretion of Niacin in the saliva. Niacin turns purple when it comes in contact with potassium or with chemicals like cyanogen or barbituric acid. But then why should these chemicals be on your pillowcase? I have no idea - like I said earlier, the idea is a bit far-fetched.

I think that the easiest explanation is the reaction of iodine and starch. Perhaps you could try a silk pillowcase - if there is no purple color, then this could be the likely explanation.

I wish I could have helped you more.

Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 9032
Experience: Twenty years experience in active private practice
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