What is Hydrocephalus (Fluid Accumulation in the Brain)?

Congenital hydrocephalus, also known as fluid accumulation in the brain, can cause serious problems ranging from developmental delay to mental disorders if left untreated.

What is hydrocephalus, what causes it, how is the treatment method? In this article, we talked about the things you need to know about hydrocephalus.

What is hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is the fluid accumulation that occurs when the cerebrospinal fluid produced by the brain cannot be absorbed sufficiently by the brain. This accumulation of fluid in the brain causes the baby’s head to grow larger. This problem can be seen in the mother’s womb, as well as occur after birth.

Why does hydrocephalus occur?

The most important cause of hydrocephalus is blockages that affect the natural flow of cerebrospinal fluid, spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhages enlarge the brain chambers and the body produces more cerebrospinal fluid than necessary. 

  • Infections during pregnancy such as rubella, mumps, syphilis and toxoplasma,
  • Some tumors
  • Conditions such as meningitis cause head enlargement, or hydrocephalus, in infants

What are the symptoms of hydrocephalus in babies?

  • Very specifically, the growth of the baby’s head circumference,
  • Soft swellings on the head,
  • slowdown in development,
  • Vomiting,
  • Inactivity,
  • Irritability,
  • Weakness and weakness in the muscles,
  • seizures, convulsions,
  • Irregularity in nutrition
  • Quite high-pitched and sharp cries are some of the symptoms of hydrocephalus.

How is hydrocephalus diagnosed in the womb?

Hydrocephalus can be detected in routine tests during pregnancy. In any case, your baby’s brain development will be constantly examined. During this time, the enlarged ventricles in the baby’s brain can be observed on ultrasound. If the doctor suspects this, he may order a fetal MRI. No radiation is used in this procedure, so it is used in pregnancy. Sometimes the amniocentesis method can also be evaluated. Your doctor will tell you about this.

What are the types of hydrocephalus?

Unhindered hydrocephalus: It is a type of hydrocephalus that occurs due to the absence of obstacles in the cranial cavity.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus: It is caused by the occasional rise of the fluid in the brain. It is determined by making hourly measurements.

Inhibitory hydrocephalus: It is a type of hydrocephalus that occurs when the fluid accumulated in the brain flows into the head cavity.

How long does a baby with hydrocephalus live?

Hydrocephalus is a treatable disease. Therefore, with the right intervention and care, the baby can lead a life like a normal individual. In other words, no information can be given about the life span of hydrocephalus.

How is hydrocephalus treated?

Treatment of hydrocephalus in infants is done by surgery. The aim of the surgery is to reduce the fluid and pressure without damaging the brain. The most common method of hydrocephalus surgery is to direct the fluid in the brain to the abdominal cavity with a system called shunt. Fluid accumulated in the brain is more easily absorbed in the abdominal cavity.

After shunt surgery, the baby should be followed up. Because this fluid accumulating in the brain can cause other physical problems in the baby. These problems often affect the baby’s motor skills and physical coordination. That’s why you should definitely act with a physiotherapist after the surgery.

Well, is there any drug treatment for fluid retention in the brain? Unfortunately, hydrocephalus is not a disease that can be treated with medication.

What happens if hydrocephalus is not treated? If the treatment is interrupted, the baby’s brain tissue may be damaged, and his eyesight and intelligence may be affected. Therefore, early intervention is very important.

Is there a herbal treatment for hydrocephalus?

Unfortunately, as we mentioned above, the only treatment method for hydrocephalus is surgery.

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