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Hydrocephalus is the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Normally, this fluid cushions your brain. However, when you have too much, it puts harmful pressure on your brain.

Hydrocephalus Causes

Hydrocephalus can be congenital, meaning it is present at birth. Causes include genetic problems and issues with fetal development. An unusually large head is a symptom of congenital hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus can also happen after birth. This is called acquired hydrocephalus. It can occur at any age. Causes can include head injuries, strokes, infections, tumors, and bleeding in the brain.

Hydrocephalus Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Balance problems
  • Bladder control problems
  • Thinking and memory problems

Hydrocephalus can permanently damage the brain, causing problems with physical and mental development. If untreated, it is usually fatal. With treatment, many people lead normal lives with few limitations. Treatment usually involves surgery to insert a shunt, a flexible but sturdy plastic tube. The shunt moves the cerebrospinal fluid to another area of the body where it can be absorbed. Medicine and rehabilitation therapy can also help.

If you have suffered a severe brain injury, join the Tampa Bay Brain Injury Support Group, an inclusive community of brain injury survivors and caregivers. 

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