Hydrocephalus: My Own Natural Cure
Hydrocephalus in Pictures
What Is Hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus is frequently referred to as "water on the brain". Everybody has fluid that cushions their brain, rather like a shock absorber, but few people are aware that the fluid surrounding the brain—called "cerebrospinal fluid"—can, for reasons doctors don't understand completely, increase so that it causes increased pressure on the brain. I developed hydrocephalus after being prescribed Seroquel. The type of hydrocephalus I had was called "normal pressure hydrocephalus".
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is thought to be incurable, and I was told I would have to have a shunt in my brain for the rest of my life to drain the excess fluid. But before we go into how I cured myself, I'd like to talk about symptoms I had that I didn't know were early warning signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus.
This is my own experience with hydrocephalus, and you should be under a doctor's care because it can be a life-threatening condition. I had a neurologist monitoring me because the only other alternative was having a brain shunt installed to pump fluid out of my brain for the rest of my life. I refused to go along with the idea of a brain shunt. So, I am not recommending that you ditch your doctor, just consider some of these strategies.
Early Warning Signs of Hydrocephalus
- Dirty bathwater—this is a sign that toxins are building up in your body
- Unexplained night sweats
- Constant headache
- Craving for bananas
- Difficulty with balance
- Pain down the left side of your body—this is also a symptom of neuropathy, which can be a result of hydrocephalus
- Dirt under the fingernails and/or on the bottoms of the feet (the body tries to get rid of toxins in any way it can)
- Thickening nails
Mid-Stage Symptoms of Hydrocephalus
- Sleeping for up to 16 hours a day
- Being too nauseous to eat much of anything except bananas
- Blue or purple gums or tongue
- Increased clumsiness
- Misjudging where objects are and tripping over them
- Unexplained bumps, bruises, and skin abrasions
- Decrease in pulse rate to as low as 60 beats per minute
- Inability to notice that these symptoms are happening to you
Issues with balance and clumsiness can be indicators of hydrocephalus. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis with an x-ray.
Crisis-Level Hydrocephalus (You Need a Shunt in Your Brain)
- Any or all of the above symptoms
- Fluid that your family doctor can confirm by x-ray
- Messed up hormones and other blood levels, again that your family doctor can confirm by x-ray
- Neuropathy—this is a whole other topic I found a natural cure for—but essentially, it is a disease that affects your nervous system in some way
- Stumbling as though drunk when walking (this can also be one of your first warning signs)
- Pain down the left side of your body
- Peripheral nerve damage which manifests as pain, tingling, or numbness in your fingers, hands, feet, or toes
- Black tongue, gums, bathwater, fingernails, or toenails—this is a symptom that your body is not able to get rid of toxins on its own
My Story: An Overview of Seroquel
I had been taking a medicine called Seroquel for bipolar 1 disorder for three years. The medicine is often prescribed to help people sleep. However, when I first started taking it, I experienced symptoms such as racing heart and problems with balance. The medicine is so powerful that one time, my boyfriend took one 100-mg pill and slept for 24 hours. Other people may or may not have similar experiences, but for me, Seroquel slowed down my metabolism.
Shortly after starting the medicine, I began to notice that the tips of my fingers did not feel right. They were slightly painful but it manifested more as having "agitated" fingertips. I remember that I kept flicking the ends of my fingers. I never once connected it with the toxic effects of Seroquel. One thing I learned about Seroquel is that heroin addicts often buy it on the street because it gives them a heroin-like high. In fact, if you Google "toxic Seroquel" you will be taken to many sites that, within the site, are online pharmacies that actually sell Seroquel without the guidance of a doctor, who should be monitoring your use of such a powerful medicine.
For some, Seroquel is a lifesaver. Others have sued Astra-Zeneca because it is commonly known that Seroquel can cause people to develop diabetes. In fact, if you Google "Seroquel lawsuits", you will find a vast number of lawyers willing to help you sue Astra-Zeneca. Additionally, Seroquel is their best-selling pharmaceutical. Now, I am not putting down Seroquel, but it should be very carefully monitored by a doctor, and I want to warn people about what happened to me so that it doesn't happen to them.
How I Cured My Hydrocephalus
1. Get Educated
The first thing I did when I was diagnosed was to read about hydrocephalus, where I discovered a lot of people have it, often with no identifiable cause. In a nutshell, here is what I learned that helped me: everybody has fluid surrounding his or her brain.
This fluid within the brain has several important duties. You might think of it as a shock absorber, one of its main roles. My interest was piqued when I read that this fluid also serves to keep toxins out of the brain. At the time I was diagnosed with normal-pressure hydrocephalus, I had been on prescription medicine for three years. Additionally, even when I first started taking the medicine I had problems with it, such as my heart getting jittery and my balance being “off”. I complained about those symptoms to my doctor but was told they were just side effects that would eventually go away.
I think that discovering that CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) protects the brain from toxins was the first clue I got as to what was really going on with my body: the increase in cerebrospinal fluid helped me realized that the CSF was trying to protect my body from a toxin. Since I was taking only one medicine at that time, my first step to curing myself was to eliminate that medicine from my life. (It was a medicine that helped me sleep, but later I learned about Melatonin, which helped me greatly without practically killing me.)
So, step one for me was eliminating the source of the toxin. Within a week, my pulse was back up to 60. I also had a neurologist following my progress. Within a couple of weeks, he did some sort of test and confirmed my legs were also getting better because, in addition to hydrocephalus, I had developed neuropathy. The neurologist simply confirmed that my legs were getting better. Since my pulse was better and I got a good report from the neurologist, I figured I was on the right track, but I was still far from well.
2. Detox Kit
Around that time, my whole body began breaking out. Bumps mysteriously appeared all over my body. I had scratches, lumps, and bruises; the bottoms of my feet were covered with a tar-like substance. I had no clue what was going on, but looking back, I now know that every part of my body imaginable was trying to rid itself of toxins.
I went to a health-food store and showed the guy the bottoms of my feet, which were streaked with the tar-like substance. Luckily for me, he’d grown up poor and unable to go to doctors, so he had a good idea of what would help me. He referred me to a “detox kit”, which I didn’t believe in at the time. Yet seeing is believing, and I was quite amazed to see the results of a detox kit, and after doing a couple of those, my headaches completely went away.
Supplemental and Dietary Treatments for Hydrocephalus
3. Supplement with Potassium
Another treatment I discovered was potassium. Craving bananas and being able to eat hardly anything but bananas made me curious about potassium. But there is a lot of misinformation about potassium out there. One or two bananas is nowhere close to the USDA-recommended daily potassium dosage.
In fact, the USDA-recommended dosage is 4.7 grams a day—one banana has only 12% of the potassium you need each day. A sweet potato, at 20% of the Daily Value, is the vegetable richest in potassium. But can you really imagine eating five of them a day to get 100%?
The problem with buying potassium in stores is that the supplements you can buy at a store like Walgreen’s have so little potassium in them that you can only get 1% or 3%, depending on the strength you buy.
Despite the fact that the body needs 1.4 grams a day of potassium, there is a huge scare out there about getting too much. But I did a lot of research and was pretty sure I needed to try to get the USDA-recommended amount of potassium into my body. I was just too sick to eat 10 potatoes or 20 bananas.
Around that time, my daughter made a discovery: the main ingredient in salt-substitutes is potassium. I get mine at Walmart, and the only two ingredients are potassium and chloride. You want the potassium and the chloride. Without chloride mixed with the potassium, it is not safe to use. Most salt substitutes have ingredients added to the potassium chloride but you don’t need them if you’re using the salt substitute as a way of getting your USDA-recommended daily intake of potassium.
Within days of substituting my diet with potassium chloride so that I was getting at least 50% of the USDA-recommended dosage, I began to notice that my brain seemed to be working more quickly, and I generally felt a sense of well being without feeling wired. To this day, I still use potassium chloride as a daily supplement.
4. Wheat Grass
Another dietary measure I took was wheat grass, which claims to have the nutrients of five servings of vegetables. It is probably the food highest in chlorophyll, and it is often found at juice bars. It has a long list of health benefits, and I took it five times a day with packages of fruit-flavored vitamins mixed into it.
The Success of the Unorthodox Treatments
About two-and-a-half years after I was told “You need a shunt in your brain for the rest of your life”, I went to a doctor for a follow-up appointment. I’d gotten gradually better and had almost no symptoms by then, except for a little bit of pain in my fingers. But I had come a long, long way. Still, I wanted tests to confirm that the normal-pressure hydrocephalus was gone. Without question, he ordered a CAT scan (I believe that’s the one). I spent an hour in a long tube—and there was no indication of normal-pressure hydrocephalus.
I just want to add that this is an unorthodox cure. Many people, like my nephew who has spina bifida, have shunts in their brains which help them tremendously. But you might want to consider detoxing and other treatment options, especially if no cause can be found for your hydrocephalus and you have odd symptoms like dirt under your fingernails, night sweats, or if your bathwater is grey—these kind of symptoms are your body’s way of getting rid of toxins.