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    Includes Expert Content
    Scalp Infection??
    PaulWK posted:
    I hope someone can help with this!! About a week ago, the back of my scalp started to itch rather badly. When I reached back and felt my scalp, I discovered an oily, relatively clear secretion; some small bumps, and there is "crusting." I have been treating this by shampooing and then applying a 50/50 mix of warm water and hydrogen peroxide 1-2 times a day. I have also started to use a very warm compress on the scalp before going to bed. I have seen little improvement - when I wake up in the morning, there will be a large wet spot on my pillow case from the oily secretions and sometimes the itching is very mild while other times it is worse.

    Any help on this and potential treatment would be greatly appreciated!
    Susan Evans, MD responded:
    Dear PaulWK,

    Have you ever had a condition like this in the past? Obviously, I cannot give you a diagnosis over this forum, but if this is not clearing up with your treatment, you may be dealing with something other than a scalp infection.

    A visit to your doctor is the best way to get a diagnosis. Prepare for the visit by listing everything that you can think of leading up to this event. A bump on the head? A bug bite? There are so many things that can cause a skin reaction, so listing possibilities can be helpful.

    If this is not an infection, it is possibly due to a more chronic skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema, but without making a physical exam, it is impossible to say for certain.

    If this does not clear up within about 10 days, seek an evaluation by your doctor.


    Dr. Evans
    PaulWK replied to Susan Evans, MD's response:
    Thanks Dr. Evans. I have never had a condition like this before so that is why it is so perplexing. I will go visit my doctor because I have had this for about a week now.
    Susan Evans, MD replied to PaulWK's response:
    Dear Paul,

    That's the best idea. It really does help when you know what it is you're dealing with. When the problem is a perpetual question, there is often a lot of stress associated with it.

    Keep us posted.


    Dr. Evans
    2thelistener2 responded:
    I had a lot of scalp problems somewhat like yours. My dermatologist's remedies were of NO help. I finally got to a preventitive medicine physician who tested me for gluten sensitivity and there it was: moderate sensitivity. He advised me but his advice was, at best, shallow. Then I read up on the necessary things to avoid which include several grains as well as, would you believe, soy sauce. I started scrutinizing food labels and to my chagrin found gluten, flour, and soy sauce etc. etc., in an amazing array packaged foods as well as of so called health foods. So I took a seminar along with about 200 various kind of physicians and health practioners and learned the following:
    1) Gluten can can cause a huge array of conditions, depending on the person and how old you are. The older you are the worse they may be and the more conditions are possible.
    2) There is great variation from person to person so it is
    confusing to diagnose without testing. However, laying off ALL gluten for 2-3 weeks could be fairly diagnostic at least in some people. (When I layed off, Voila! my scalp cleared up! Later, my dermatologist asked me about gluten because of her son's depression)Others may take longer. Eating in restaurants is an issue due to their use of packaged products for gravies, soups, desserts etc. It is necessary to give this a lot of thought when you analyze what restaurants are serving ie, chicken fried steak, pie, oat meal processed in plants with wheat ( grain contamination)
    3)There are many tests, even a biopsy of the gut when all else fails and the Doctor is convinced of the possibility.
    4) Some Docs cling to old ideas that it is rare but newer studies show a VAST increase in incidence. I think it is not incidence but more insight and consequently testing for the condition
    5) It may be inherited. Check with family, even uncles, cousins, etc. Ask about indigestion, heartburn, IBS,depression etc etc.
    6) Go on PUBMED.GOV look up studies. Obtain books: "Cereal Killer", "Dangerous Grains"
    GOOD LUCK. Let me know how it came out.
    RSinMtka replied to Susan Evans, MD's response:
    Wow, I just saw my internist yesterday about this very same condition, except I don't have much fluid from the sores. A lot of itching in the back of my scalp, crusts, redness. He told me it's a fungal infection, caused probably by either not drying my hair thoroughly after I wash my hair, or sweating a lot, which I do, due to some meds I'm on. It gets and stays damp back there, making it a great environment for fungal infections. He prescribed a topical medication, but I can't afford it right now, so it'll have to wait until I can afford it. It's driving ME nuts, too!
    RSinMtka replied to Susan Evans, MD's response:
    I've tried to post this twice now, but the website tells me it's unavailable right now. I'll try AGAIN: I just saw my internist yesterday about this very same problem, except I don't have the fluid that you have. My dr. told me it's a fungal infection, caused most likely either by not drying the back of my hair thoroughly after washing it, or sweating a lot, which I do, due to some meds I'm on. He gave me a prescription for a topical med, but I can't afford it right now, so it'll have to wait.
    Susan Evans, MD replied to RSinMtka's response:
    Dear RSinMtka,

    I hope that you can figure out how to afford the prescription so that you can begin your prescribed therapy. Such an ongoing problem is highly frustrating, as you've described, and I hope that you can begin the road to recovery.

    Fungal infections require a very specific therapy. Please visit this link for WebMD's information on fungal infections for more information.


    Dr. Evans
    PaulWK replied to RSinMtka's response:
    Thanks for the responses. I ended up going to an Urgent Care Center (local doctors said it would be 3-6 weeks before they could see me). Anyway, the PA told me I had "contact dermatitis" on the scalp and put me on a week long regimen of a form of pregnisone (sp?). Although that helped, it has still not gone away. Most days, it is just an annoying itch, as if my scalp is dry, and some days it itches worse; especially if I sweat. I have also started using a tea oil based shampoo which helps but, here I am more than 6 weeks since finishing the meds and am still struggling with it. I may have to go in and see the doctor again....UGH
    Annie_WebMD_Staff replied to PaulWK's response:
    Hi PaulWK,

    You may be thinking of the drug Prednisone and you can read more about it by clicking on the Find a Drug link .

    - Annie
    An_207399 replied to PaulWK's response:
    I have had the same problem, saw the docotor and tried a couple of different RX. They now have me using this scalp oil once or twice a week. It helps but it is very messy and the relief if very brief.

    Please let me know how you make out or what suggestions you receive.
    LennMomOf2 replied to PaulWK's response:
    I am now on my 3rd round of antibiotics in 2 months. These bumps drive me insane. Frist time they all cleared up except one. Couple weeks later started all over again. Since they started the second time they were going away but before they did. Started again an worse this time. Now it's my scalp, back of my neck just inside my hairline (which is where the worst ones are)Then my face,neck, shoulders,back basically all over. I get these tiny little soft bumps that pop some with just a simple touch if not run my finger across it an then I feel the oily stuff. To me these are worse, it seems like they cover the top of my head sometimes. Usually every few days. When they do it's like I feel em an within a couple hours my hair is so oily an nasty looking as if I haven't washed in a long time. (times like that REALLY makes me Nuts! Thought about shaving my head but that won't help!) Anyone else get those? Sometimes it's a couple here or there. Other times it's a small patch. Most leave a red spot that goes away but I've also had quiet a few that sores an scars.When the stuff comes out, my skin feels like it's on fire. Needless to say I no longer wash my hair at the same time I shower!
    My Family doc mine was stress induced. Me being a scracher and a hair twister, didn't help only made it worse. So to avoid both I won't let me nails grow (past the tip on my finger I'm looking for a file!) And I wear a bandana if I'm going to be sitting and not useing my hands.
    As far as cream/med to apply to the sores, Don'T I WISH! I was given 2 types of antibiotics an told to take benadryl (this time any way, last 2 round was a single anti.. So any help would be grrreat! My list is Very Oily hair (at times) flaky scalp, bumps with oily discharge then harden crusted scabs.(scalp an back of neck), & the tiny go an come seems as they please with oily stuff in them which cause my skin to feel as it's on fire.
    And You know I thought really hard before my first Doctors visit as to what had happen,changed an so on. i totally understand the Stress Induced part but the ONLY thing I could come up with as far as "Change" was I had used Noxzema (not sure thats spelled right) for a few days or so before it started.
    Any Advice would be GREAT! Doc said to use Head n Shoulders shampoo an Dial soap. Sometimes after showers aswell my skin feels like its on fire. PLEASE HELP! Thanks
    Meikalee responded:
    I had the same problem due to a reaction from some hair dye. I had to go to the hospital and get a steroid shot, and buy some shampoo called Nizoral. Its sold over the counter. I also had the wet spots on the pillow, I was told it was infection. I had to wash my hair everyday for about 6 days straight with the Nizoral. I would suggest you to see a physician first to make sure you dont have any infection. But if not try the Nizoral shampoo.
    cf350 replied to Meikalee's response:
    Another one with the same exact ailments here!! I have been on two rounds of Predisone, an antibiotic, and now I'm on two different topical steroids. Does anyone know what this is??? My doctor first said baterial infection, then psoriasis, and last time in he did a fungal culture. If anyone can shed some light please do. This condition while mostly obnoxious can be painful at times as well.
    Annie_WebMD_Staff replied to cf350's response:
    Hi cf350,

    You may want to use the Symptom Checker tool to pull up articles that may be helpful to you but please remember that our WebMD health professionals cannot diagnose anyone over the internet.

    You may want to think about getting a second opinion if your doctor isn't able to help you.

    Good luck!

    - Annie

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