Headache, Nausea, Vomiting: Is It A Symptom Of A Brain Tumour?

Brain Tumor 01 1

The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of neurosurgeons is brain surgery, right? The next thought….ways to avoid it.

I know it very well because I am Dr Maulik Vaja working as a Neurosurgeon with Janvi Multispeciality Hospital.

But do you know the surprising fact, neurosurgeons keep brain surgery as the last option for treatment because of the complexities involved. There are other ways to deal with the diseases of the brain and surgery is often opted as the last recourse.

This might bring a little smile to your face.😊 People often associate us with the brains only but let me clarify that we deal with the spine, nervous system and brain. The brain is the most important part of our body. We require specialized knowledge to treat it.

Just for your information, we need:

  • 4 years of pre-med education
  • 4 years of medical school
  • 1 year of internship
  • 5-7 years of residency

Then we qualify to become brain surgeons. As said earlier brain tumor is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of neurosurgeons isn’t it? Special THANKS TO THE BOLLYWOOD. Probably Bollywood needs to update itself about the various other serious complications that can occur, not just cancer and tumours.

I pity the way Bollywood portrays doctors and hence to give you a piece of authentic information, I am writing about brain tumours.

But before I jump to brain tumour causes or brain tumour treatment options, let me first brief you with the probable symptoms so that you can know when to approach a neurosurgeon. Let me discuss the symptoms in greater detail in this blog, later on, I’ll share brain tumour causes and treatment options with you.

Just for your information, a neurologist can understand the condition, evaluate it, diagnose it and treat nervous system disorders but if surgery is needed he refers a case to a neurosurgeon.

We, the neurosurgeons can also do the same things only with the addition that we have got the expertise to operate the patients.

What are the symptoms of a brain tumour?

Headaches? No. I know people have a misconception that headaches are the first symptoms of a brain tumour but it is not always an indication of a brain tumour. Do you know, most of the brain tumours start elsewhere in the body and then shift to the brain.

The tumours which begin elsewhere in the body are called metastatic tumours whereas the tumours which begin in the brain itself are called primary tumours.

So having a headache is not concrete proof of a brain tumour although it can be regarded as the most common symptom.

All you need to do is to keep watch on your headache. If it is frequent, disturbing your sleep, severe, a headache that does not stop even after taking pain killers and is painful then you need to approach a neurologist.
If you observe the following symptoms along with the headache then you need to see a neurosurgeon immediately.

SYMPTOMS OF BRAIN TUMOUR

Symptoms of brain tumour can be classified into two parts:

General symptoms

Location-specific symptoms

General symptoms relate to the symptoms that you can see happening in your body whereas location-specific symptoms relate to the location in the brain where a tumour is present. For eg, if the tumour is present in the ‘Occipital Lobe’ then it can show symptoms of issues with the sigh

General Symptoms of Brain Tumour

Headache

Headaches that get worse with time or do not improve even after taking painkillers is a symptom of a brain tumour.

  • Constant headache that is different from migraine
  • Gets worse in the early mornings
  • Leads to vomits
  • It leads to other neurological symptoms
  • Pain increases when you change your position
  • Painkillers don’t help much

These features alone cannot justify the presence of brain tumours. There can be other reasons for the headache as well apart from the brain tumour. Here’s how you can deal with headaches.

Seizures

Interference of nerve cells with the tumour can result in sending wrong signals to the brain. Often this results in a seizure. This is the reason why seizures are considered to be a symptom of brain tumours.

Generally, the seizure has the following features.

After the seizure passes a person does not remember anything about it. It can cause the person to feel sleepy or leave him confused. Sometimes it can cause headaches too. Here are some ways to handle seizures effectively.

  • It happens suddenly
  • There is a loss of consciousness
  • Twitching and relaxing muscle contractions
  • Loss of control over 5 senses
  • Stoppage of breathing

Changes in mood

Brain tumours cause sudden mood changes. Mood changes can be also caused if you have some other mental disorders or if you take alcohol. It is better to show a medical practitioner.

  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Becoming happy or sad for no reason
  • Becoming introvert

Memory loss and confusion

You can have memory loss depending on which area of the brain is affected by the tumour.

  • Less concentration and more distractions
  • Getting confused in simple matters
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Unable to plan or think
  • Forgetting and having short term memory issues

Fatigue

Getting tired just once in a while happens with everyone. When this happens repeatedly then it is called fatigue. Here are some symptoms that indicate fatigue.

To control fatigue try to meditate, listen to your favourite music, do yoga or gardening. This will freshen your mind and improve your mood. Try to do activities that you enjoy.

  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Feeling weakness in the body
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Unable to focus on anything
  • Irritability

Depression

Feeling depressed is also a symptom of a brain tumour. Although a clinical examination is a must, if you feel the following things then probably you are depressed.

  • Feeling sad for a longer duration
  • Loss of interest in doing things
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of energy or enthusiasm
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Guilt feelings

Dealing with depression is the must else it can lead to self-harm. Here are some ways in which you can help a depressed person.

Nausea and Vomiting

As we all know, our skull is the only bone in the human body that has just one joint. So if a tumour is growing inside it, it presses the walls of the skeleton. This hinders the liquid in the brain from flowing freely. Due to this, we get nausea and vomiting sensations

Focal problems

They are also referred to as localized problems. These problems generally affect a particular area of the brain. With the help of such problems, we can identify which part of the brain is affected by the tumour.

  • Hearing problems
  • Lack of coordination in movements
  • Lack or absence of sensations
  • Decreased muscle control
  • Balance problems
  • Seeing double figures
  • Weakness in body

These were the general symptoms apart from that there are location-specific symptoms that can indicate the presence of brain tumours in a specific part of the brain.

Location-specific symptoms of brain tumour

There are two approaches to study this. One is that you are already experiencing a particular problem and list the various areas of the brain that can be affected by it. This is where you can guide us to find a problem in the specific brain area depending on the symptoms you face.- The first approach to detect the presence of brain tumour

Another approach is where you are not experiencing particular symptoms. At such times we analyze the presence of tumours for specific structures of the brain, just like the way it is depicted in the above figure. – The second approach is to detect the presence of brain tumours.

The figure presented above depicts the second approach so here I am going to discuss the first approach. Knowing your problems first and accordingly detecting the area of the brain that is affected.

Presence of tumour impairing the vision

They can occur if the brain tumour is located around

  • Temporal lobe
  • Pituitary gland
  • Optic nerve
  • Occipital lobe

Communication viz, Speech, reading, and writing problems:

  • certain parts of the cerebrum
  • certain parts of the cerebellum
  • temporal lobe
  • parietal lobe

Hearing problems

  • near cranial nerves
  • temporal lobe

Swallowing problems

  • cerebellum
  • in or near cranial nerves

Mobility problems or difficulty in movement of the hands, arms, feet, and legs.

  • cerebellum
  • frontal lobe

Balance issues

It may indicate a tumour near the base of the brain.

Facial numbness, weakness, or pain may also occur with a tumour in this area.

Although I have listed the symptoms here in my honest opinion don’t be guided by the “Google doctor’. What happens sometimes we notice symptoms and then panic whereas they can be a symptom of other irregularities as well and have no resemblance to a brain tumour or whatsoever.

But if you have any of the above symptoms, it is better to get it checked once by the doctor and get the things clarified before it is too late. You can always drop down to Janvi Multispeciality hospital and approach the doctor if you have doubts about certain things. We are always there to help you.

About me

Dr Maulik Vaja is working as a neurosurgeon with Janvi Multispeciality hospital and he has experience in handling critical cases. He ranks among the top doctors for ‘best neurosurgeons in Vadodara’. He works as a surgeon with Janvi Multispecialiyt hospital which is among the best neurological hospitals in Vadodara.

He deals with the problems of the spine, nervous system and brain. Professionally he is qualified as M.S (DNB). Diplomate of National Board (DNB) is a Postgraduate Master’s degree same as an MD/MS degree awarded to the Specialist Doctors in India after completion of a three-year residency. With a wide experience of 10+ years in this field, he deals with the problems of the spine, lumbar region, brain and pediatric diseases relating to the nervous system.