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.
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
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.
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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Lors on September 11, 2018:
This is the only information I have been able to find that mentions any kind of solution for this, besides a shunt.
I'm going to try it. So far I have had almost no help, medically.
Thanks for sharing!
Robin on December 19, 2017:
Thank you for this info. There is so little data on the web. I was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus over a month ago after having severe migraines (never had headaches before). No treatment option, doc just told me to keep a log of migraines. Told me to have a "good life". Discovered my atlas and C2 seriously out of joint just below skull. Seeing chiropractor; using herbs; and yoga every day. Chirop and yoga give me the most relief. It is getting better, slowly. I will try the potassium and report back. Thanks again!
DAVE on December 11, 2017:
YOUR GREAT THANKS FOR SHARING THE INFO .NOTHING GOOD NUTRITION CANT HEAL
idbroadcast on March 03, 2017:
Thank you so much for this article, its mind boggling how people have more faith in doctors than in themselves. My aunt it going through this and this was one of the few TRUTHFUL articles on the subject.
San Mateo on November 23, 2016:
Hi Picarpe and all, I have recently been diagnosed with Hyd but they still don't know what type after 1 MRI. I have started taking the Potassium Chloride and have change my diet to include lots of fruits and veg wholw and in juice. One doctor says I need surgery, two more say I don't need it yet. I want to avoid a shunt at all costs as the complications are multiple. My symptoms are mild at this stage, just headached that have reduced with the changes on diet and potassium intake (hopefully this is the reason) and a little dizziness sometimes.
I would like to know how the author of the article is getting on these days, have the symptoms gone away and you are "cured"? Is anybody out there who knows more people being cured from Hyd without a surgery? Do you think your problem was caused by stress or was it related in any way to stress? I believe in my case it all started during a very stressful stage in my life. One surgeon dismissed the suggestion immediately but another said that it could be related.
Is the solution to some cases of Hyd a healthy lifestyle, some potassium intake and reduction of stress in our lives?
Agatha on September 20, 2016:
Hello Patie, just wanted to update you on the new development of my baby.I introduced a feeding timetable for my baby.He feeds every after 3hrs and the kind of food i give him is balance diet which contains proteins,carbohyrates,protectives food. i mix them and blend and i add milk. so thats his meal and i have seen some improvement atleast he has gained he is now weighing 4.5kg from 4.2kgs which he has been weighing for more than 3months.Praying he will gain.
I know its not much but atleast it makes a difference
Agatha on August 29, 2016:
Patie, my baby was born with hydrocephulus as well and he was premature at 7month.He had a shunt at three months but had diffucult eating and swallowing food.He coulsnt gain weight as well.He is 7months old and weighs 4.2kgs.I have tried to ask doctors no much help is done.I have now started using formula milk s26 gold and some multivitamin for premature babies and malnutrised babies.For the past days i have tried this he seems to be doing well am praying and trust God that all shall be well.Check with your chemistry on the multivitam.
Karen on March 30, 2016:
You can buy potassium chloride in powder or tablet form from an online company in the USA called iherb.com They are very efficient and will send your order via courier for a small postage fee. I pay about $12.oo for my orders and they arrive in Australia within 2-3 days via DHL.
Joyce on February 20, 2016:
m Husband Has Hydrocephalus And I Would Like To Find Out Where I Can Buy Potassium Chloride. Does Anyone Know ?
patie on March 11, 2015:
My baby has hydrocephalus since birth and had a shunt at 8 months. now she is 10 months and still cant sit or gain much weight. she is currently 4.2kg. can anyone who has knowledge help me please. Doctors don't really say much
Beth on March 06, 2015:
My Dad has hydrocephalus. So yours was caused by taking medicines? And detoxing with taking potassium helped it to go away? He is older and on meds. But this is slowly killing him and they don't know the cause. I'm trying to find anything to help him!
Debra on May 13, 2012:
Last year I was sick from March until this year in February when I came across this article. IT SAVED ME!! I thought I was going crazy. I didn't have the banana craving but I was having severe brain fatigue. I think it all started when I took a trip out of the country and started to get sick. Upon returning I got a sinus infection and didn't use any meds (Hind site is 20/20...today I will take antibiotics and no longer view them as a negative) Anyway, I ended up with what the drs said was double pneumonia, bronchitis and pleurisy. Not sure what I really had bc they said that I had waited too long to get to the ER and the double pneumonia was cleared up.
Main thing is I was left with this TIRED feeling. My brain was constantly trying to compensate. I ended up doing three MRI's and having tubes put in my ears all in search of a CURE. The thing that FINALLY cleared me up and helped me tremendously was the potassium. I was desperate and took 10 tablets 3X Day. Cured me! Made me a believer and helped me beyond belief. Now I take a Potassium/Magnesium aspartate for maintenance.