Hydrocephalus: Symptoms, Treatment, & Prevention Tips

Hydrocephalus Symptoms

What Is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a medical condition caused by an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. It is sometimes referred to as “water on the brain.” The buildup of CSF increases pressure on the brain, which can cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Hydrocephalus is common in young children, but can occur in adults as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Hydrocephalus

Signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus vary depending on age and the rate at which CSF accumulates. Common signs and symptoms may include:

  • Head enlargement (in infants)
  • Depressed fontanelles (in infants)
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Poor coordination
  • Gait disturbances
  • Blurred vision or other vision problems
  • Difficulty thinking or remembering
  • Lethargy or drowsiness
  • Irritability or other behavior changes

Treatments for Hydrocephalus

In some cases, hydrocephalus can be managed without surgery by draining off the excess CSF. Other treatment options include:

  • Medications to reduce CSF production
  • Shunt placement: This is a medical device that is surgically inserted to redirect the flow of CSF away from the brain.
  • Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV): This procedure involves creating a hole in the base of the brain to allow the CSF to flow out.
  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt: This device is used to drain CSF into the abdominal cavity.

Prevention Tips for Hydrocephalus

  • Be sure to get regular check-ups from your doctor.
  • Be aware of the risks associated with certain medical procedures such as an epidural, lumbar puncture, or brain surgery.
  • Practice safe sex to reduce the risk of infections that can be transmitted through sexual contact.
  • Be aware of the risk factors associated with hydrocephalus and take steps to reduce them.
  • Be mindful of any changes in mental or physical function, and seek medical attention right away if you notice any.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Health Benefits of Hydrocephalus Treatment

Treatment for hydrocephalus can reduce the risk of long-term health consequences such as dementia and seizures. Additionally, symptoms may improve due to the increased pressure being relieved, resulting in better brain function. Finally, hydrocephalus treatment can reduce the risk of long-term brain damage.

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