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What to Do If Your Child Has Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus occurs twice in every 1,000 births in the country and can also develop after birth. The term describes conditions that cause the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in and around the brain. Typically a progressive condition, hydrocephalus puts pressure on the brain tissues. And it can cause brain damage or death if left untreated,. 

When your child has hydrocephalus, you’ll need to learn about the condition and how it affects your child. While there’s no cure for hydrocephalus, treatments have a high success rate for managing the condition. Dr. Adam Lewis and the team at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic specialize in hydrocephalus diagnosis and treatment. 

What is hydrocephalus? 

CSF normally circulates around your brain and spinal cord. As a cushioning protective layer for these organs, CSF also provides nourishment and removes waste. Your body typically manufactures and reabsorbs the same amount of CSF daily. 

When your child has hydrocephalus, something happens to prevent this balance from occurring, and the amount of CSF slowly increases. This causes pressure to intensify inside the skull. When this pressure becomes high enough, it can affect brain function. 

Symptoms of hydrocephalus

The signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus depend on the age of your child. Infants show physical changes to their head due to the fact that the bones of their skulls are not yet fused. Symptoms for infants include: 

  • The soft spot on the top of the head bulges
  • Overall, their head may be noticeably large
  • Eyes point downward, giving the “setting sun” appearance
  • The infant may seem overly sleepy
  • Seizures of unknown origin
  • Frequent and severe vomiting

Older children may experience: 

  • Headaches
  • Vision issues
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Delays in development
  • Balance or coordination problems
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Urinary incontinence

If your child experiences one or more of these symptoms, seek a medical opinion as soon as you spot the issue. 

What to do if your child has hydrocephalus

Once diagnosed, treatment depends on the severity of your child’s case. Since it’s a progressive condition, you’ll always need to be aware of new symptoms. Your child will likely need surgery at a certain point to relieve internal pressure or remove blockages from some types of hydrocephalus. 

Speak with Dr. Lewis about any activity restrictions your child should follow. A head injury can make their condition worse, so use a helmet during high-risk activities. Dr. Lewis can also help you determine your child’s future needs. 

Congenital hydrocephalus can be diagnosed when a child is still in the womb. With early detection and prompt treatment, there’s a strong chance your child can expect a normal life span. 

You can book a consultation at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic by phone or online. Learn more about your child’s condition and how to manage it by speaking with Dr. Lewis and his team. Book your appointment today.