“Water on the brain,” medically referred to as hydrocephalus, is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of a person’s brain. It can cause an increase in intracranial pressure inside a person’s skull and result in a progressive enlargement of their head, as well as causing the person to suffer from convulsions and various mental disabilities, and can be fatal. Related to the condition is normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), which can occur due to a gradual blockage of the CSF drainage pathway in a person’s brain.
The appearance of hydrocephalus is varied and is linked to its severity, and can also be affected by a person’s age, the reason for the blockage, and how much tissue of the brain has been hurt by the swelling. Common symptoms of significant intracranial pressure include nausea, vomiting, excessive sleepiness, papilledema, and headaches. A person can also slip into a coma as a result of the increase in pressure or suffer from life-threatening compression to the brain stem. Other common manifestations of hydrocephalus include urinary incontinence, gait instability, epilepsy, and dementia.
For babies that suffer from water on the brain, their symptoms include seizures, vomiting, irritability, excessive sleepiness, difficulty feeding, uncontrolled eye movements, slow growth, and the manifestation of eyes that seem to be unable to look upwards.