(Water on the Brain)
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- A blockage doesn't allow CSF to drain properly
- Another condition, such as bleeding, inflammation, or infection, makes the brain unable to resorb fluid
- An excess of CSF is produced
- Brain tumors
- Inflammation in the CSF
- Cysts in the brain
- Malformations of the central nervous system, such as:
- Brain injuries
- Infections of the brain or meninges, such as encephalitis or meningitis
- Problems with the blood vessels in the brain, such as aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations
- Bleeding into the brain or CSF space
- Headache, which may often be worse when lying down, upon first awakening in the morning, or with straining
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems with balance
- Difficulty walking
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty controlling urination
- Personality changes
- Memory problems
- Loss of consciousness
- Large head circumference
- Bulging fontanelle on the head
- Slow development
- No longer able to do activities they once could do
- Ventriculoperitoneal shunt allows excess CSF to drain into another area, usually the abdomen. Sometimes a temporary extraventricular drain (EVD) is placed.
- Third ventriculostomy allows CSF to flow out of the area where it is building up by creating a hole in an area of the brain.
- Removal of the obstruction of CSF flow.
- Medication to decrease the production of CSF or to reduce swelling.
- Lumbar puncture to remove excess CSF.
- Take folate before pregnancy to reduce the chances of neural tube defects and myelomeningocele (a type of spina bifida).
- Get regular prenatal care.
- Keep your child’s vaccines up to date.
- Protect yourself or your child from head injuries.
- Talk with your doctor about updating your vaccines.
- Carefully cook meat and vegetables.
- Correctly clean contaminated knives and cutting surfaces.
- Avoid handling cat litter, or wear gloves when cleaning the litter box.
- Avoid rodent contact.
National Hydrocephalus Foundation http://nhfonline.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada http://www.sbhac.ca
Hydrocephalus in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 25, 2012. Accessed September 30, 2014.
Hydrocephalus in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 23, 2014. Accessed September 30, 2014.
Hydrocephalus fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/hydrocephalus/detail%5Fhydrocephalus.htm. Updated April 16, 2014. Accessed September 30, 2014.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 08/2015 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2014 -