Pseudotumor Cerebri: Symptoms, Treatment

Overview

Pseudotumor cerebri is a brain condition with the same symptoms as a brain tumor. But no tumor is present. Increased pressure around the brain is the primary cause.Common symptoms include headaches, vision problems, nausea, and dizziness. It’s of great importance to get treated as soon as possible once the patient has noticed the symptoms above.

Obese women of childbearing age are more easily to have pseudotumor cerebri than people of other ages. However, it is a rare disease in the U.S, with fewer than 20,000 cases annually.

Causes

Cerebrospinal fluid is vital to protect brain and spinal cord from injury. Normally, it is absorbed into bloodstream. When this fluid isn’t fully absorbed, they will build up in the brain in a large amount. And the pressure in skull increases, resulting in the symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri as a result.

Symptoms

Symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri may include:

  • Moderate to severe headaches that starts behind eyes. These headaches become worse with eye movement
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
  • Blurred or dimmed vision
  • Double vision
  • Brief episodes of blindness
  • Difficulty seeing to the side
  • Seeing light flashes
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain

Diagnosis

The doctor will begin to diagnose pseudotumor cerebri by asking the patient’s symptoms and medical history.

Next, the doctor may use an ophthalmoscope to check whether the patient’s optic nerve is swollen.

For more accurate diagnosis, one or more of the tests may be needed:

  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  • CT
  • MRI
  • Regular vision tests

Treatment

In most cases, pseudotumor cerebri is treated with medications. For people with vision problems, surgical treatment can be considered. As for obese individuals, they are strongly advised to lose weight.

Medications

The doctor might prescribe the following medicines to reduce the symptoms:

Surgery

The doctor may recommend surgery to improve the patient’s vision or drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain.

  • Optic nerve sheath fenestration
  • Spinal fluid shunt placement

Other options

  • Losing weight
  • Perform multiple spinal taps performed to relieve pressure

Keywords: pseudotumor cerebri.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.