Dr. Dean

Why Is My Head Sweaty On One Side Only?

Posting Date: 05/01/2000

Susie in Wichita, Kansas: I exercise four to five times a week. I notice that I sweat a lot more from the left side of my head than from the right side.

Dr. Dean: Not only does quantity of sweat vary from person to person, but also one person can sweat asymmetrically. We are all born with different numbers of sweat glands in different parts of our bodies. So, most likely this is all there is to it.

In rare cases, however, sweating can be a sign of lung disease or of a disorder of the sympathetic nervous system. A type of lung disease can cause a nick in the nerves to the sweat glands. Sympathetic dystrophy affects sweating, but it is very unusual, and comes along with a host of other symptoms.

If you have always sweated this way, I doubt very much that you are ill. But if this pattern of sweating has developed suddenly -- if you just stopped sweating on one side of your body -- you should tell your doctor about it.