Hydrocephalus is a condition where there is excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain leading to increased intracranial pressure. In infants, a rapid increase in head size may be seen. It is a condition that can be acquired or due to birth defects such as neural tube defects that causes aqueductal stenosis. Other examples that can cause hydrocephalus are intraventricular hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, brain tumors, meningitis, traumatic brain injury, and more. Hydrocephalus can be divided into normal pressure, ex-vacuo, communicating, and non-communicating hydrocephalus.
The diagnosis of hydrocephalus can be made via physical examination and confirmed through medical imaging. Treatment usually involves the placement of a shunt through surgery. However, shunts can also cause complications such as underdrainage, overdrainage, infection, obstruction, or mechanical failure which may require the replacement of the shunt. Many patients with hydrocephalus who receive treatment go on to live normal lives. It has been estimated that approximately 1 to 2 per 1,000 individuals have hydrocephalus.
Symptom #1: Headaches
Headaches are a common issue that is observed in about 20 percent of the population. It refers to pain that can be felt anywhere in the region of the head and neck. There are many types of headaches such as migraines, tension type headaches, cluster headaches, and more. Those with frequent headaches may experience depression as it can affect employment and relationships.
Examples of conditions that can cause headaches include dehydration, stress, sleep deprivation, fatigue, viral infection, head injury, concussion, dental issues, temporomandibular joint disorders, and more. In hydrocephalus, headaches may be due to the increased intracranial pressure.