Meningioma is a condition in which tumors arise in the meninges, which are the membranous layers that cushion the central nervous system. The exact cause for their occurrence is not well understood, though genetics are known to play a role. A meningioma is typically small in size, though a small percentage grows to be large. The smaller tumors tend to be benign and may not even produce any symptoms through the course of one's lifetime. However, in some cases, when the meningiomas are large or malignant, symptoms manifest and may be treated using radiosurgery or conventional surgery.
People with meningioma tend to suffer from headaches very frequently. They may experience them several times a day, with temporary relief coming from over-the-counter painkillers. Headaches often occur because either the tumor is on the surface of the brain or in the intraventricular region. In the latter instance, the tumor blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, thus causing the pain, which is typically a dull throb or a nagging heaviness.
Among the most common symptoms of meningioma is weakness or pain in the limbs. This usually occurs when the tumor is present in the cerebral falx or parasagittal region of the brain. When the spinal function is affected due to spinal meningioma, heaviness or dull aches are felt in the arms and legs. Such weakness or pain often gets mistaken for other ordinary conditions, such as fatigue.
In some cases, meningiomas may lead to vision-related problems. For instance, if the tumor is present in one of the sphenoid wings, chances are that the suffering individual will experience a gradual loss of eyesight or even double vision. Sometimes, a tumor in the suprasellar region of the brain may compress an optic nerve, hampering visual ability. In rare cases, the outward appearance of the eye may also be affected, with intraorbital tumors growing around the eye sockets, creating pressure and a resultant bulging of the eyes.
Sometimes, meningiomas may compress the nerves that are responsible for the brain's olfactory response. This leads to an increasing loss of the sense of smell. This symptom is often not noticed until the olfactory sense becomes very weak. However, with suitable treatment and removal of the tumor, the chances of a full resumption of smelling ability are quite high.
When a meningioma tumor is present in the posterior fossa region of the brain, the patient may develop problems with hearing. This occurs due to compression of the cranial nerves. If not treated in time, it may lead to permanent loss of hearing. If no other typical meningioma symptoms are present, the hearing loss is often attributed to other conditions that relate to anomalies in the ear canal.
Sometimes meningiomas in the intraventricular space lead to bouts of dizziness and lack of balance. Tumors in this location tend to restrict the flow of cerebrospinal fluids, making patients feel woozy and unsteady on one's feet. Since this is a highly non-specific symptom, based on this alone, accurate diagnosis is seldom achieved quickly.
Falx and parrigasittal meningiomas, which are located in the frontal section of the brain, may affect the brain's memory function. The modality and exact nature of memory loss may differ from person to person. Some individuals may become generally forgetful, while others may have problems recalling incidents from the past. Complete loss of memory almost never occurs.
Certain types of meningiomas, especially those present in the frontal brain region, may affect the agility of brain function. With a large or growing tumor, the patient may exhibit signs of losing their capacity to reason. They may be unable to engage in abstract thinking or even to resolve simple problems of logic or arithmetic.
In very few cases, meningiomas put pressure on the location where nerves run into the spinal cord. This makes suffering individuals highly prone to back pain ranging from mild to moderate, often relieved by over-the-counter medication. Typically, such pain occurs in flares, arising randomly, without apparent cause. Thus, if an individual suffers from backaches frequently, without the existence of an unidentifiable reason, a meningioma in the brain may be responsible for it.
Meningiomas that overlie the cerebrum may also produce focal seizures in an individual, which typically means that the brain functions governed by either of the two hemispheres of the brain are affected. Such seizures cause numbness or tingling in the body, wave-like sensations, and in some cases, even visual disturbances and hallucinations.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.