Pseudotumor cerebri

Pseudotumor cerebri (SOO-doe-too-mur SER-uh-bry) occurs when the pressure inside your skull (intracranial pressure) increases for no obvious reason.

Symptoms mimic those of a brain tumor, but no tumor is present. Pseudotumor cerebri can occur in children and adults, but it's most common in obese women of childbearing age.

When no underlying cause for the increased intracranial pressure can be discovered, pseudotumor cerebri may also be called idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

The increased intracranial pressure associated with pseudotumor cerebri can cause swelling of the optic nerve and result in vision loss. Medications often can reduce this pressure, but in some cases, surgery is necessary.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Pseudotumor cerebri signs and symptoms may include:

  • Moderate to severe headaches that may originate behind your eyes and worsen with eye movement
  • Ringing in the ears that pulses in time with your heartbeat (pulsatile tinnitus)
  • Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
  • Blurred or dimmed vision
  • Brief episodes of blindness, lasting only a few seconds and affecting one or both eyes (visual obscurations)
  • Difficulty seeing to the side
  • Double vision (diplopia)
  • Seeing light flashes (photopsia)
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain

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