Pseudotumor cerebri generally causes the same symptoms as any disorder that involves increased pressure in the skull. The reason idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is commonly known as pseudotumor cerebri is because it mimics the symptoms of a brain tumor. Brain tumors cause increased pressure in the skull because they take up space in the brain and press against healthy brain tissue, which has no room to expand inside the skull.
Like the symptoms of a brain tumor, the symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri include:
- Headache, or back or neck pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Ringing in the ears (see also, Pulsatile Tinnitus)
- Visual changes (double vision, light flashes, and blurry or dim vision)
Anyone experiencing neurological symptoms such as these should be examined by a qualified neurologist. If pseudotumor cerebri/IIH is suspected or confirmed, the patient might be referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist or neurosurgeon specializing in pseudotumor cerebri/IIH for further management and treatment. Left untreated, pseudotumor cerebri/IIH can cause worsening headache pain and eventually lead to loss of peripheral vision and even blindness. Find out more about diagnosing and treating pseudotumor cerebri/IIH.
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- Assistant Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery (Manhattan and Queens)
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- Professor of Neurological Surgery, Pediatric Neurosurgery
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Reviewed by: Srikanth Boddu, MD, MSc
Last reviewed/updated: August 2020