Pseudotumor Cerebri Symptoms and Treatment

Pseudotumor Cerebri – An Overview

Pseudotumor cerebri is often confused with a tumor, but it is not one. Thus it is given the name “pseudo tumor” meaning fake or false tumor. It is also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension which occurs when there is pressure on the brain. This causes symptoms that are similar to a tumor. The condition usually affects people between the age group 20 – 50 and is more common amongst women than men.

Causes –

When there is an increase in the pressure within the skull it leads to pseudotumor cerebri. Although the exact reason is hard to find out, the condition can easily be treated. Apart from this reason there are some medications that if consumed, can increase the risk of pseudotumor cerebri. For example –

1. Steroids
2. Excessive dosage of vitamin A
3. Minocycline
4. Tetracycline
5. Lithium etc.

Health conditions such as head injury, kidney disease etc also can result to a pseudotumor cerebri.

Symptoms –

The major symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri are as follows –

1. Headaches
2. Blurry or double vision
3. Dizziness
4. Pulsating effect in the ear
5. Nausea

Serious risks with pseudotumor cerebri are temporary or permanent loss of vision along with excruciating headaches. While this condition is not life-threatening and is curable, action should be taken in time so that there is no permanent loss of vision (which is the biggest side-effect). The headache experienced in this condition often ranges from light to severe. Usually the condition can be treated easily, but in some people the condition may recur after a period of time. The recurrence can be after months or even years. The symptoms get worse with physical activity, especially if the patient is obese.

Diagnosis –

Several tests are done, starting from an eye test. This is done to determine how poor the vision is and how it can be corrected. Scans of the head, to check if there are any blood clots or tumors are also done. Medications are prescribed in order to ease the condition of the patient, and give relief from the pain.

Treatment –

Pseudotumor cerebri is usually treated with medications to reduce the headaches and decrease in vision. Following a strict diet in order to lose weight is recommended for obese individuals. For those having serious vision problems, a surgery is also recommended. Although it is not known exactly why there seems to be a connection between obesity in women and pseudotumor cerebri, weight loss is essential and will make a huge difference. The medication given for treatment will be to reduce the intracranial pressure.