What Are the Basics of Hydrocephalus?

What are the basics of hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus is a condition which occurs when fluid builds up in the skull. It can lead to swollen brain because the excess fluid increases the size of the ventricles and puts pressure on the brain. Hydrocephalus literally means “water in the brain”.


Hydrocephalus is mainly caused by the imbalance between how much cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced and how much it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Before a baby is born, hydrocephalus may result from:

• A birth defect in which the spinal column doesn’t close
• a genetic abnormality
• Rubella occurring during pregnancy

After the baby is born, hydrocephalus can be caused by the followings:

• Head trauma
• Central nervous system tumors
• Central nervous system infections like meningitis
• Bleeding in the brain, especially in babies born prematurely

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus vary by age of onset:

For Infants

Common signs and symptoms are unusually large head, a bulging or tense soft spot on the top of the head, sleepiness, irritability, seizures, poor feeding, vomiting, poor growth, poor responsiveness to touch, etc.

For Toddlers and Older Children

Signs and symptoms may include headache, blurred or double vision, eyes fixed downward, unstable balance, poor coordination, seizures, poor appetite, urinary incontinence, lethargy, personality change, delayed walking or talking problems, etc.

For Young and Middle-Aged Adults

Common signs and symptoms are lethargy, loss of bladder control, impaired vision, decline in memory, concentration, etc.

For Older Adults

The usually-occurred symptoms include memory loss, urinary frequency, poor balance, progressive loss of thinking or reasoning skills, walking difficulties, etc.

Keywords: hydrocephalus; hydrocephalus causes; cause hydrocephalus; hydrocephalus signs and symptoms.

* 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.