Have you been feeling dizzy of late or do you feel as if there’s pressure in your brain? Don’t be alarmed. It’s probably nothing. As a matter of fact, it may just be Pseudotumor Cerebri – a condition in the brain that may feel like a tumor but is really not.
What is Pseudotumor Cerebri and How to Treat It?
It is a condition that affects the brain wherein pressure is felt in the head which then may cause headaches and double or blurred vision. Temporary blindness which can last for only a few seconds may also sometimes occur.
Pressure is felt when there is excess cerebrospinal fluid in the head. This fluid covers the brain and the spine to protect it from injury but an excess production of this may cause Pseudotumor cerebri.
Apart from the symptoms previously mentioned, there are a number of other symptoms that may occur. These include feeling nauseated, vomiting, difficulty with peripheral vision and pain in the neck, shoulder or back area.
Among all these symptoms, the most common is headache. The pain may be moderate to intense and usually starts from the back of your eyes. You may also hear a buzzing sound in your ears and it may seem as if it is buzzing to the beat of your pulse which intensifies the pain.
Headache usually occurs in the morning. Sometimes, the pain can be so severe that it rouses you from slumber.
Testing for Pseudotumor Cerebri
Since symptoms for this condition is similar to a brain tumor, your doctor may immediately recommend checking the condition of your brain to determine whether there is an actual tumor or a pseudo tumor.
Your doctor may advise you to undergo an MRI test or a CT scan to see if there is a tumor present. If none is seen, you may then be asked to undergo lumbar puncture.
Also known as spinal tap, the procedure entails extracting a sample of your cerebrospinal fluid for testing.
This is also a form of treatment for Pseudotumor cerebri – extracting the excess fluid from your spine.
Another test that you may be asked to take is an eye exam. The doctor will check for a condition called papilledema, a specific form of swelling behind the eye that is associated with Pseudotumor cerebri.
Treatment for this condition generally entails relieving the symptoms including medications to relieve the pressure in the brain. In some case, surgery and as mentioned earlier, the extraction of the excess fluid, are recommended.
Initially, the doctor will prescribe glaucoma medication or diuretics or both. Glaucoma medication will address the eye problem while diuretics will help reduce fluid retention through frequent urination. for headaches, you may also be given pain relievers. If medications do not work, surgery may be the next form of treatment. Eye surgery and lumbar puncture will help release excess fluid.With eye surgery, normal vision is restored.
Factors Associated with the Condition
There is not one specific, all-encompassing risk factor that may increase your chances of having this condition. However, it has been observed that obesity plays a key role. Therefore, for obese patients, apart from medications or surgery, losing excess weight may likewise be prescribed by the doctor. The condition also generally affects women.
Certain types of medications may also increase the chances of getting this condition such as growth hormones and oral contraceptives. Vitamin A toxicity may also lead to Pseudotumor cerebri.
jenny richards is a free lancer writer and content builder of many sites.