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Daughter has shunt and horrible headaches that come and go
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Daughter has shunt and horrible headaches that come and go

My adopted daughter had a shunt placed immediately after being born premature and after suffering from a stroke. She is now 10 years old but has had continueous problems with severe headaches and nausea.  She is normally a very animated and happy little girl with some delays but wonderful spirit.  About every 3  to 4 weeks she will lose all facial expression and will suffer horrible headaches. She can not talk or function normally.  None of the prescribed medications touch her pain and it breaks our hearts to see her hurting so much. The pain and down time is usually 1 week...and another horrible side effect for her is terrible drooling that is thick and unbelieveable in volume. She has to be in a dark room and she sleeps most of the hours of the day. She is tube fed and eats orally but when she has these headaches she can only be tube fed and really has a hard time handling even that.  She indidcates that the top of her head hurts...and the nuerologist feels these episodes are some kind of abnormal seizure but we never see any seizure happen and are just beyond frustrated with this. I have been reading on line that many kids with shunts have horrible headache pains even when the shunt is functioning normally. We have had our daughter's shunt checked numerous times and it always appears to be totally normal and functioning. Is there any help for our daughter? She misses so much school and so much of life...it seems like there should be some answer out there.  Any advice for us?


This discussion is related to headaches/vomiting in child with shunt when CT scans are normal.
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Hi,

Thank you for your question. Although without being able to examine her I can not offer you the specific advice on diagnosis and treatment that she needs, but I would try to provide you some relevant information about her health concern.

If she has continuous headache, possible causes may be shunt is either under-draining or over-draining. Her doctor can assess this with a lumbar puncture and measures the fluid pressure. He/She may make some adjustment of the shunt to allow it to drain more and can monitor if the headache improve. Another possibility could be shunt is over-draining, that may lead to low CSF pressure that can also lead to headache. This may improve when the person lies down and gets worse when the person sits or stands. Other possibility could be migraine or cluster headache since these types of headaches are quite common in females. Even then if she suffers continuous headache, please arrange an appointment with a neurologist right away who will evaluate the further underlying disorders here that may be the main reasons of her headaches and can suggest her appropriate treatment. Hope this information proves helpful to you.
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