Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Water on the Brain

Get Email Updates

Water on the Brain Guide

Alison Beaver

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Water on the Brain in Babies: What Parents Should Know

By Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch HERWriter
 
Rate This

Hydrocephalus, also called water on the brain, is a neurological condition in which there is a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

It serves several functions, including taking waste products away from the brain, providing buoyancy, transporting hormones, and acting as a cushion. Too much cerebrospinal fluid causes problems — the CSF build-up puts pressure on the brain, leading to damage of the brain tissue.

Hydrocephalus is not uncommon among babies: in about every 500 births, one infant has water on the brain, according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Water on the brain in babies occurs because too much CSF has been produced, the body has problems absorbing the fluid, or there is a blockage that interferes in the cerebrospinal fluid’s flow.

Some infants with water on the brain have the build-up of CSF while they are still in the womb. MedlinePlus noted that this is common with a condition called myelomeningocele, in which the child’s spinal column does not completely close.

Some children may have acquired hydrocephalus. The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford noted that premature birth may cause water on the brain in babies. Bleeding in the brain that occurs either during delivery or soon after it is another cause of hydrocephalus, and it often occurs in premature babies.

Central nervous system infections, such as encephalitis and meningitis, may affect cerebrospinal fluid flow. Other causes of acquired hydrocephalus include tumors, trauma, birth injuries and abnormal blood vessel formation.

An infant who has water on the brain may have a bulging fontanel, noticeable scalp veins and a high-pitched cry. She may be less alert than usual and have an increased head circumference. The child may have irritability, separated sutures and projectile vomiting.

The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford stated that an infant who has water on the brain may have seizures, bulging eyes and developmental delays. Other symptoms of hydrocephalus include poor feeding and deficits and muscle tone.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1637 Health

Changed

610 Lives

Saved

457 Lives
3 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do your teens have their own cellphones?:
View Results