Could pseudotumor cerebri and birth control share a causal link? Recently, patients have filed many lawsuits against major birth control manufacturers like Bayer due to pseudotumor cerebri. This condition causes increased pressure in the patient’s brain. Pseudotumor cerebri is really just a fancy term for “phantom brain tumor,” as is causes many identical symptoms. While birth control may seem like an unlikely culprit, there’s an alleged connection – and it isn’t a result of increased fluid retention.
Pseudotumor Cerebri and Birth Control: The Connection
Pseudotumor cerebri and birth control options such as oral contraceptives and hormonal IUDs are linked due to using the same active ingredient, called levonorgestrel. It’s unclear how this ingredient causes the condition at this point, but a connection has been made between the two. Birth control methods that contain the ingredient can cause an unusual rise in the amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull, ultimately causing an increase in overall pressure. Thankfully, it’s not as dangerous as an actual brain tumor, but it is still a serious condition. Cerebrospinal fluid tends to build up when it is not properly reabsorbed into the bloodstream, which is problematic, as the brain is always producing more. Symptoms include:
- Vision impairment
- Frequent headaches
- Ringing in the ears
- Light flashes
- Trouble walking
This cerebral pressure often increases during physical activity, when more blood flows into the area. This increased blood flow typically causes serious discomfort. The condition occurs in women formerly or currently taking birth control. It’s important to note that not all forms of birth control and related implants cause pseudotumor cerebri, however. The active ingredient levonorgestrel causes increased fluid in the brain. In other words, only birth control that contains levonorgestrel may cause pseudotumor cerebri.
Pseudotumor Cerebri and Birth Control: Potential Treatments
If you suspect you have it, your doctor will perform an MRI or CT scan as well as a spinal tap. These symptoms are, of course, serious, and other possible causes must first be ruled out. There are a few possible treatments for pseudotumor cerebri, including (but not limited to):
- Lumbar puncture
While pseudotumor cerebri is usually treatable, any vision loss can be permanent. As a result, schedule frequent eye exams after your diagnosis. Furthermore, birth control containing levonorgestrel is contraindicated in pseudotumor cerebri patients. Your doctor will stop prescribing this type of contraception if you have this condition.
Many people have made accusations against major birth control manufacturers, claiming they didn’t adequately warn consumers about this risk. While birth control has been linked with many other serious side effects, such as blood clot and stroke, pseudotumor cerebri has never been put on the warning list. This has resulted in many pseudotumor cerebri lawsuits, and many women are taking damages.
What You Can Do
If you or someone you know took birth control containing levonorgestrel, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Before you file, get your free claim review today. His or her familiarity with medical mass torts will ultimately help you be more successful winning the justice you deserve.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.