Updated on 10/01/2023
Idiopathic Intracranial hypertension is a disease that causes increased pressure inside the head. Also called pseudotumor cerebri. idiopathic intracranial hypertension causes headache and vision loss.
The cause of idiopathic intracranial hypertension is unknown. However, it is more common in women and those with obesity. Some drugs are also may cause idiopathic intracranial hypertension. High-dose vitamin A, growth hormone and tetracycline are some of these drugs.
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension often causes headache. Pain is severe and is right behind the eyes. Short periods of vision loss may occur. It lasts for few seconds and can recur many times throughout the day. In addition, dimming of vision, double vision, flashing lights are other visual disorders. There may be noises inside the head.
Neurological examination reveals swelling in the optic nerve, which we call papilledema. Visual field examination is performed and repeated at regular intervals to monitor the condition of the optic nerve. Brain MRI is taken to see if there is a space-occupying lesion such as a tumor that will increase the pressure in the brain. Finally, a doctor puts a needle into lower back in order to measure the fluid pressure inside the skull, which we call lumbar puncture. A lumbar puncture is sometimes called a "spinal tap."
First of all, if you are overweight, you need to lose weight in a healthy way. Then, medication can be started to lower the pressure inside the head. If losing weight and taking medicines don't help enough, surgical treatments- shunting and optical nerve sheath fenestration- can be performed. In shunting a doctor puts a device called a "shunt" into a fluid-filled space inside your brain. The shunt is connected to a tube that is placed under your skin and that empties into your belly. The shunt helps drain the extra spinal fluid from your brain and can relieve the pressure. In optical nerve sheath fenestration, a doctor cuts a tiny, window-like hole in the tissue that covers the optic nerve. This helps lower pressure on the nerve to help save your vision.