Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC)

Diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) or IIH while using birth control?

Birth control products such as the Mirena® IUD work by releasing hormones into the blood stream. One of the hormones used in this product is levonorgestrel, which has been linked to PTC and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).

What is a pseudotumor cerebri?

Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) literally means “false brain tumor.” It is a medical condition that mimics the effects of a real tumor by building up cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull. Like a growing tumor, the excess fluid increases pressure on the brain, often causing severe headaches and other side effects. PTC is also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) or benign intracranial hypertension.

PTC/IIH side effects include:
  Moderate to Severe Headaches
  Ringing In The Ears
  Blurry Vision
  Temporary or Permanent Vision Loss
  Nausea
  Double Vision

Women with symptoms of PTC or IIH are usually given an MRI or CT scan to rule out a tumor or blood clot. To check the cerebrospinal fluid in the skull and determine whether there is an infection or inflammation, a spinal tap or lumbar puncture may also be required. Not until the cerebrospinal fluid on the brain is determined to be normal is a doctor likely to diagnose PTC or IIH.

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