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Headaches Associated with Brain Tumor

Headaches Associated with Brain Tumor

Brain tumors are known to be rare, and more often than not, display rather faint symptoms. This HealthHearty article is about understanding when recurrent headaches can be a possible symptom of brain tumor.
Kundan Pandey
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2018
Before you proceed...
Keep in mind that while recurring headaches can be a symptom of brain tumor, it is only about 50% of patients who do have brain tumors complain of a headache. Therefore, headaches are not a conclusive symptom of a tumor, and there are higher chances that they may be caused by a very different reason.
Depending upon the type and location of the tumor, its symptoms tend to vary greatly. These symptoms arise owing to two reasons―one, the tumor grows within the skull, exercising pressure over the brain as it develops. Secondly, since different parts of the brain control different functions, a tumor may display varied symptoms, depending on its location.
Since the skull is only adequately sized to cover the brain, any growth in this part increases pressure, known as raised intracranial pressure. This may cause headaches, sickness, and seizures. However, it is important to note that headaches and sickness are common indicators associated with various other mild illnesses―headaches are therefore not considered to be a conclusive symptom of a tumor.
Identifying Headaches Associated with Brain Tumor
Headaches associated with brain tumors tend to differ from those caused by other reasons. Look out for these indications:
  • Recurring, non-migraine headaches
  • Recurring nausea and vomiting
  • Possible throbbing in a specific area of the head
  • Pain that intensifies with coughing or any bodily movement
  • Non-responsive to usual headache medication
Besides these, the presence of a tumor in the brain may affect other functions of the body. Look out for these signs:
  • Weakness in motor skills
  • Change in vision or intermittent spells of blindness
  • Change in speech, memory, or thinking
  • Muscle waekness or paralysis
  • Lactation or sudden alteration of menstrual cycles in women
  • Difficulty in swallowing, facial weakness or numbness
Often experienced in the early morning hours, these headaches are known to be severe, and tend to worsen with movement and activity.
Doctors opine that it may usually take several months or even years for the lesion in the brain to develop to a size sufficient enough to produce symptoms. In some cases, their discovery is purely accidental, during routine screening for migraines or following a minor head trauma.
A positive statistic states that among the large number of people who suffer from recurring headaches, a very small percentage are diagnosed with any serious disease. However, any of the symptoms mentioned here warrant immediate attention from a medical professional.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.