How you learn about your child's condition — if your child has hydrocephalus — may depend on how severe the symptoms are, when problems first appear, and whether there were any significant risk factors during the pregnancy or delivery. In some cases, hydrocephalus may be diagnosed at birth or prior to birth.
It's important to take your child to all regularly scheduled well-baby visits. These visits are an opportunity for your child's doctor to monitor your child's development in key areas, including:
- Head size and rate of head growth
- Muscle tone
- Muscle strength
- Age-appropriate motor skills
- Sensory abilities — vision, hearing and touch
Questions you should be prepared to answer during regular checkups might include the following:
- What concerns do you have about your child's growth or development?
- How well does he or she eat?
- How does your child respond to touch?
- Is your child reaching certain milestones in development, such as rolling over, pushing up, sitting up, crawling, walking or speaking?
Preparing for other doctor visits
If you're seeing your doctor because of the recent onset of symptoms, you'll likely start by seeing your general practitioner or your child's pediatrician. After an initial evaluation, your doctor may refer you to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the brain and nervous system (neurologist).
Be prepared to answer the following questions about your symptoms or on your child's behalf:
Sep. 13, 2011
- What signs or symptoms have you noticed? When did they begin?
- Have these signs or symptoms changed over time?
- Do these signs or symptoms include nausea or vomiting?
- Have you or your child had any vision problems?
- Have you or your child had a headache or fever?
- Have you noticed any personality changes, including increased irritability?
- Has your child experienced any changes in school performance?
- Have you noticed any new problems with movement or coordination?
- Have signs or symptoms included abnormal sleepiness or lack of energy?
- In infants: Have signs and symptoms included seizures?
- In infants: Have signs and symptoms included problems with eating or breathing?
- In older children and adults: Have signs and symptoms included headache?
- In older children and adults: Have signs and symptoms included urinary incontinence?
- Have you or your child had a recent head injury?
- Are you or is your child being treated for any other medical conditions?
- Have you or your child recently begun a new medication?
- Hydrocephalus. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Hydrocephalus.aspx. Accessed June 11, 2011.
- Hydrocephalus fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/hydrocephalus/detail_hydrocephalus.htm. Accessed June 10, 2011.
- Fishman MA. Hydrocephalus. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 10, 2011.
- Diagnosis of hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus Association. https://www.hydroassoc.org/hydrocephalus-education-and-support/learning-about-hydrcephalus/diagnosis-of-hydrocephalus. Accessed June 11, 2011.
- Graff-Radford NR. Normal pressure hydrocephalus. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 10, 2011.
- Life-threatening complications of hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus Association. https://www.hydroassoc.org/hydrocephalus-education-and-support/learning-about-hydrcephalus/life-threatening-complications-of-hydrocephalus. Accessed June 11, 2011.
- Hamilton MG. Treatment of hydrocephalus in adults. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology. 2009;16:34.
- Meningococcal vaccine: Who and when to vaccinate. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/mening/who-vaccinate.htm. Accessed June 28, 2011.
- Wetjen NM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 6, 2011.