Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension



  • Buildup of CSF pressure without mass lesion or clear alternate etiology
  • Synonyms
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Benign intracranial hypertension:
    • Exact mechanism unknown, theories include:
      • May be related to venous sinus stenosis
      • Cerebrospinal fluid outflow resistance
      • Obesity-related increased abdominal and intracranial venous pressure
      • Altered sodium and water retention
      • Abnormalities of vitamin A metabolism
  • Associated with obesity among women of child-bearing age
  • In prepubertal children: Equal male:female incidence
  • Average age of onset: 30 yr
  • In postpubertal >90% of cases occur in women
  • Uncommon: ∼1 case per 100,000


  • Obesity
  • Hypervitaminosis A
  • Steroids/steroid withdrawal
  • Growth hormone supplementation
  • Tetracycline antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Recent weight gain

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