Many people in India suffer from brain abscesses. Are you suffering from it as well? In this article, we will discuss what a brain abscess is and how you can treat it.
Let us begin by understanding what a brain abscess is.
What is a brain abscess?
An abscess is a collection of pus that has built up in the tissue of the body. So, when pus builds up in the brain, it is called a brain abscess. A bacterial infection usually causes an abscess in the brain of an otherwise healthy person.
Fungal brain abscesses usually happen in individuals with poor immune systems. The infection will make your brain swell from the formation of pus and the collection of dead cells.
A brain abscess forms when viruses, fungi, or bacteria enter your brain from a wound in your head. It also happens when an infection enters your brain from any other areas of your body. Infections from other body parts account for between twenty and fifty percent of every brain abscess case.
Lung infections and heart are among the most found brain abscesses causes. But brain abscesses can start from a sinus or ear infection, or an abscessed tooth as well.
Contact your neurosurgeon in India if you feel that you might have a brain abscess. You will require proper surgery to stop any brain damage from the swelling.
Now that you know what a brain abscess is, let us understand its symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a brain abscess?
Symptoms often build slowly over many weeks, yet they can also come unexpectedly. Signs you must watch out for include:
- Differences in mental processes, like raised confusion, irritability, and reduced responsiveness
- Reduced speech
- Reduced sensation
- Reduced movement because of loss of muscle function
- Vision changes
- Personality or behavior changes
- Neck stiffness, particularly when it happens with chills and fevers
- Light sensitivity
In infants and young kids, many symptoms are the same. Still, your child may have other brain abscess symptoms as well. The soft area on top of your baby’s head, known as the fontanelle, may get swollen or bulged. Other signs in your child can involve:
- Projectile vomiting
- High-pitched crying
- Spasticity in the limbs
What are the risk factors?
Almost anybody can get a brain abscess; still, some people are at more risk than others. Few disorders, diseases, and conditions that increase your risk involve:
- A compromised immune system because of AIDS or HIV
- Cancer and other chronic diseases
- Congenital heart conditions
- Major skull fracture or head injury
- Immunosuppressant drugs, like those used in chemotherapy
- Middle ear infections or chronic sinus
Some congenital disabilities make infections enter the brain more easily through the intestines and the teeth. An example of this is the tetralogy of fallot, which is a heart defect.
Now that you know the symptoms and risk factors let us understand how brain abscess is diagnosed.
How is a brain abscess diagnosed?
Several of these signs closely resemble other conditions or health issues. See your neurosurgeon right away if you see any of the signs mentioned above.
You will likely require a neurological exam. This exam can expose any raised pressure within your brain, which can happen from swelling. MRI and CT scans can also be utilized to diagnose a brain abscess.
In few cases, your specialist may have to do a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. It includes removing cerebral spinal fluid in small amounts to find out if there are any more issues other than an infection. A lumbar puncture is not done if any major brain swelling is suspected.
Now that you know how brain abscess is diagnosed, let us understand the treatments.
What are the treatments for a brain abscess?
A brain abscess is a severe medical condition. A hospital stay will be needed. Pressure because of swelling in the brain can progress to permanent brain damage.
Treatment with antibiotics
If your abscess is deep in your brain or is 2.5 centimeters or less, it will mostly be treated using antibiotics. Antibiotic medicines will also be utilized to treat any underlying infections that may have caused the brain abscess.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics that kill various bacteria are usually prescribed. You may require more than one form of antibiotic.
Treatment with surgery
Surgery is usually the next part if an abscess does not become smaller with antibiotics. It may be the preferred procedure for abscesses more than 2.5 centimeters wide.
Your neurosurgeon will recommend surgery when the abscess causes a dangerous development of pressure in your brain. Your specialist may suggest surgery as the best choice in the below cases:
- Your brain abscess is at risk of getting ruptured in your skull.
- Your brain abscess has gasses, which are produced by the bacteria.
Now that you know how brain abscess is treated let us understand how it can be prevented.
Can a brain abscess be prevented?
A brain abscess is a severe medical situation. Prevention is essential. You can monitor any conditions that cause a brain abscess as it will reduce your risk. Contact your specialist at the initial sign of a brain abscess.
If you have any form of heart disorder, discuss it with your specialist before having any dental or urological surgeries. Your specialist can prescribe antibiotics for you to have before such surgeries. This will decrease your risk of an infection that can expand to your brain.
If you have a brain abscess, do not worry; it is a treatable condition. Visit your neurosurgeon immediately; they will provide you the right guidance.