Hydrocephalus describes the accumulation of fluid in the brain, and hydro means water, cephali - head. Water highlighted as hydro is cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced and reabsorbed continuously throughout the day. This fluid basically has 3 functions. These tasks can be listed as supporting the nutrition of the brain and helping the transport of wastes, minimizing the damage of the blows to the spinal cord and the brain, circulating between the spinal cord and the brain, and regulating pressure changes in the brain. However, more than normal cerebrospinal fluid can cause damage to the brain tissues, and this can cause a series of disruptions in the functions of the brain.

What is Hydrocephalus?

“What is hydrocephalus?” The answer to the question is also among those who are curious. It is a disorder that occurs as a result of the disorder between the formation and absorption of cerebrospinal fluid. Obstruction in the cerebrospinal fluid circulation, which is one of these disorders, can occur with excessive or impaired absorption. This condition, which can occur at any age, is usually seen in infants and adults over the age of 60. The progression of this disease depends on its early diagnosis and treatment, and whether there are any underlying conditions.

What are the Causes of Hydrocephalus?

“What causes hydrocephalus?” If you are wondering, you should know that there are multiple reasons for this ailment. These reasons are as follows:

  • Obstruction that prevents cerebrospinal fluid from flowing
  • Decreased ability of blood vessels to absorb cerebrospinal fluid
  • Increased production of cerebrospinal fluid

The brain is under pressure as a result of excess spinal fluid in the brain. As a result of this pressure, cerebral edema occurs. In some cases, this condition begins before the baby is born. The reasons for this are as follows:

Maternal cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, rubella, syphilis and mumps during pregnancy
An opening in one part of the spine while the baby is in the womb

The causes of this ailment in infants and children are generally as follows:

Traumas to the head
Infections in the central nervous system
Tumors in the central nervous system
Cerebral hemorrhage in preterm infants at or after birth

What Are the Symptoms of Hydrocephalus?

Emphasis should be placed on early recognition of hydrocephalus symptoms and complaints and taking necessary precautions. Because this disorder can cause permanent brain damage. The symptoms of this condition differ according to the stage and age of the disease.

Symptoms of hydrocephalus in infants are as follows:

  • Vomiting
  • slowdown in growth
  • Sleepiness
  • poor response to touch
  • Anorexia
  • epileptic seizures
  • rapid growth of the head
  • Head larger than normal
  • decrease in muscle strength
  • Swelling or tension in the fontanelles
  • Fixation of the eyes below

Symptoms seen in older infants and children are as follows:

  • eyes fixed downward
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Abnormal enlargement of the head
  • Sudden personality change
  • urinary incontinence
  • Sleeping state
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • poor coordination
  • loss of balance
  • decreased appetite
  • epileptic seizures
  • regression in speech and walking

Symptoms of hydrocephalus in adults can be listed as follows:

  • a sleepy mode
  • Headache
  • vision problems
  • loss of balance
  • frequent urination
  • Losing bladder control
  • Memory, thinking, and concentration problems

Symptoms of hydrocephalus in the elderly are as follows:

  • Experiencing memory loss
  • Difficulty walking
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Decline of thinking or reasoning skills
  • frequent urination
  • Losing bladder control

How Is Hydrocephalus Diagnosed?

For the diagnosis of hydrocephalus, methods such as brain tomography, brain MRI, ultrasonography, examination of cerebrospinal fluid and pressure measurement are used.

How is Hydrocephalus Treated?

Methods such as medical, surgical and endoscopic third ventriculostomy are used for the treatment of hydrocephalus. In medical treatment, some drugs that reduce cerebrospinal secretion can be used for normal pressure condition. In surgical treatment, the excess fluid in the brain cavities is conveyed to the other cavities of the body with the help of a thin tube under the skin. In the endoscopic third ventriculostomy treatment, procedures are applied to open the obstruction of the cerebrospinal fluid in the circulation pathways.

When to Apply to the Doctor?

In order for hydrocephalus surgery and treatment to occur, a doctor should be consulted without losing time in case of possible symptoms.

What Should Hydrocephalus Patients Pay Attention To?

“Can patients with hydrocephalus walk?” and “Does the hydrocephalus go away on its own?” Such questions are also among the topics of interest. In the face of a complex disease such as hydrocephalus, detailed information should be obtained from the doctor in order to manage the situation well. In this process, routine controls should not be interrupted and doctor's recommendations should be followed throughout the process.

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