Increased Intracranial Pressure: Symptoms

By Freedman, Meg

What other symptoms might occur with increased intracranial pressure?

Feeling like you have head pressure or having a headache does not necessarily mean that you have increased intracranial pressure, which is caused by a serious condition, such as a hemorrhagic stroke or brain tumor. Although headache is one possible symptom of increased intracranial pressure, the majority of headaches are not caused by increased intracranial pressure.

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have had a head injury or have any of these symptoms of increased intracranial pressure:

  • Abnormal pupil size or nonreactivity to light
  • Bleeding from the ear after head injury
  • Change in consciousness, lethargy, or passing out
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Double vision or other visual symptoms
  • Neurological problems, such as balance issues, numbness and tingling, memory loss, paralysis, slurred or garbled speech, or inability to speak
  • Projectile vomiting
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Stiff neck
  • Sudden changes or problems with vision
  • Worst headache of your life

Symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition in infants or toddlers include:

  • Abnormal pupil size or nonreactivity to light
  • Bulging of the soft spot on top of the head (fontanel)
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Not feeding or responding normally
  • Projectile vomiting

What is increased intracranial pressure?

Increased intracranial pressure refers to a serious condition in which there is an increase in fluid pressure inside the skull, whether blood or cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in cavities located deep within the brain known as ventricles. This fluid fills the ventricles and flows into the spinal cord and out into the subarachnoid space where it absorbed. The subarachn... Read more about increased intracranial pressureintroduction


What causes increased intracranial pressure?

Increased intracranial pressure is a serious condition in which there is higher than normal pressure inside the skull. Causes include:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves