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Skin Care and Diseases

Excessive head sweating

09/26/2006

Question:

This question is for my husband. He is having trouble dealing with his head sweating. It is the only part of his body that he really sweats from and his main concern is sweating at night. He has to change his pillows several times in the night to keep a dry one under his head because of the sweating.

If you can give any reasons why this happens I would greatly appreciate it.

Answer:

Assuming he is healthy otherwise, and has had no head injuries, the first question is: Is this a new problem or has it been going on for a long time? I assume it has been a problem for a long time but first let's discuss if it is a new problem.

If it is new, rare hormonal disorders and underlying cancer or lymphoma can occasionally cause localized hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Your husband should see a board certified internist or dermatologist for this to be further evaluated.

If this has been a chronic problem (since his teenage years), the answer is we really don't know yet why this occurs. Although very unlikely, he should still be evaluated to make sure there has been no change in his health status or new medical conditions have not come about (for example thyroid disease and other hormone producing tumors).

As to treatment, if there are no underlying causes found by his physicians for this, occasionally topical therapies such as aluminum containing compounds (eg. "drysol") or oral medications (e.g. Anticholinergics such as robinul or probanthine) may help. Botox and iontopheresis have not been tried for this type of sweating of the head, but have been used for the underarms with some help.

Most people get frustrated with the lack of treatment and learn ways to absorb the sweat with headwear or clothing. Please see a physician for best diagnosis.

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Response by:

Pranav   Sheth, MD Pranav Sheth, MD
Formerly:
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati