What is a brain abscess?
An abscess is a pocket of pus. A brain abscess is a pocket of pus in your brain.
One or more brain abscesses can form when an infection spreads from somewhere else in your body
An abscess puts pressure on your brain
A brain abscess is dangerous and can be fatal
Symptoms include headache, sleepiness, feeling sick to your stomach, and sometimes weakness on one side of your body or seizures Seizure Disorders Seizures are changes in the brain's electrical signals. A seizure disorder is a problem that causes a person to have seizures. The brain is made up of nerve cells. Nerve cells talk to each other... read more
Doctors do a CT scan or MRI of your head to find an abscess
Treatment includes antibiotics and sometimes surgery to drain the abscess
What causes a brain abscess?
An abscess is caused by an infection from bacteria, fungi, or parasites. The infection usually starts somewhere else and goes to your brain.
Infections can spread from another place in your head, such as your tooth, sinuses, or ear
Infections can travel through your blood from another part of your body
Sometimes infections enter your brain when you have a bad head injury or brain surgery.
People who have a problem with their immune system such HIV infection have an increased risk of brain abscess caused by toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis is infection caused by the single-celled protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Infection occurs when people unknowingly ingest toxoplasma cysts from cat feces or eat contaminated... read more or a fungus.
What are the symptoms of a brain abscess?
A brain abscess can cause different symptoms, depending on where it is and how much it swells. Symptoms can include:
Fever and chills, which may start early and then go away
Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up
Feeling very sleepy
Feeling weak on one side of your body
How can doctors tell if I have a brain abscess?
Doctors find an abscess with an imaging test, such as an MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer records changes in the magnetic field around your body. The computer then uses... read more or CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more . They figure out which type of infection caused the abscess by taking a sample of the pus and trying to grow germs from it in a lab.
How do doctors treat a brain abscess?
Doctors treat a brain abscess using:
Antibiotics for 4 to 6 weeks to get rid of the infection
Corticosteroids to lower swelling in your brain
Medicines to prevent seizures
Sometimes draining the abscess with a needle
Sometimes doing surgery to remove the whole abscess
If you have a condition that makes your immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system's job is to attack things that don’t belong in your body, including: Germs... read more weak, you may need antibiotics for the rest of your life.