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8 Symptoms of Meningioma

8 Symptoms of Meningioma

As the most frequent brain tumor type, meningiomas are responsible for nearly two in five (37.6%) primary brain tumor diagnoses. The average meningioma is benign (non-cancerous, non-invasive, and non-aggressive), slow-growing, and treatable.  

Fellowship-trained neurosurgical oncologist Dr. Jose Valerio offers a few basic facts about these common brain tumors and explains what symptoms they can cause when they grow large enough to press on critical brain structures.   

Understanding meningioma tumors

A meningioma is an abnormal growth (tumor) developing in the protective three-layer membrane (meninges) surrounding your brain. Specifically, these primary brain tumors arise from the arachnoid cap cells within the middle layer of this important web-like covering. 

 

Because they emerge within the meninges rather than within the brain itself, meningiomas aren’t technically brain tumors. However, they’re still classified as brain tumors because of how they often grow inward and compress adjacent brain tissues, nerves, and blood vessels.

In fact, given that meningiomas begin in the tissues between your brain and your skull, they can only grow in one direction — inward and toward your brain. They only cause symptoms and health concerns when they grow large enough to put pressure on nearby brain structures. 

Possible meningioma symptoms  

Small meningiomas generally don’t cause problems and are more likely to be discovered incidentally during an MRI exam for another concern. When a meningioma grows large enough to press into brain structures, the resulting symptoms are typically specific to the tumor’s size and location. Possible meningioma symptoms include: 

1. Headaches

As a meningioma grows, it increases the pressure inside the skull, leading to general brain tumor symptoms like recurrent headaches as well as unexplained nausea and vomiting. 

 It’s important to recognize that on its own, a headache — even a severe one — is seldom a warning sign of a brain tumor. Even so, growing meningiomas often trigger chronic headaches and are known for causing headaches that feel worse in the morning. 

2. Vision changes

Meningioma tumors that push into the brain and ocular structures that control your eyesight can lead to significant vision changes, including persistent double vision, blurry or dimmed vision, and total vision loss. They can also cause other eye problems, like high intraocular pressure and bulging eye appearance. 

 If the tumor pressures an ocular structure, it usually only causes vision changes in the affected eye. If it’s pressing on any brain structures that control vision, such as the cerebrum, it’s likely to cause vision problems in both eyes. 

3. Loss of smell

When a meningioma tumor grows in the olfactory groove, it compresses the nerves between the brain and the nose, causing a loss of smell. When tumors in this area grow even larger, they can press on an optic nerve and cause vision problems, too. 

4. Hearing problems 

If a growing meningioma is situated near one of the temporal bones or the bones on either side of the skull that support the temple and enclose the middle and inner ear, it can compress these hearing organs as well as the cranial nerves that facilitate their function. That can lead to gradual or sudden hearing loss or persistent ringing in the ears.   

5. Memory loss 

Meningiomas that develop along the dura fold between the left and right sides of the brain can cause impaired brain functioning as they grow larger and may lead to memory loss, poor reasoning, confusion, personality changes, and abnormal behaviors. A meningioma that compresses the frontal lobe can also cause personality changes that may be mistaken for depression.  

6. Language difficulty 

When a meningioma compresses the region in the brain's left hemisphere that controls speech, it can trigger significant language-related symptoms. That may include difficulty finding the right words, speaking normally, and understanding language. 

7. Extremity weakness

A meningioma that presses on the cerebellum — or the brain area that controls fine motor movement, balance, and coordination — can cause symptoms ranging from weakness, numbness, or altered sensation in the arms and legs, poor balance, an unsteady walking gait, and impaired coordination.

8. Recurrent seizures 

In many parts of the brain, a growing meningioma can cause seizures. Meningiomas can also trigger seizures by causing an electrical disturbance within the brain. 

While a standard seizure event may cause a person to pass out, stiffen, or experience jerking muscle movements, a mild and more subtle seizure episode may simply cause abnormal sensory changes.

Specialist care for meningiomas

As worrisome as a meningioma diagnosis may be, it’s not all bad news — this common brain tumor is highly treatable. With Dr. Valerio’s specialized care approach, you can expect the best possible prognosis for your case. To learn more or schedule a visit at Jose Valerio, M.D., call your nearest office in South Miami, Hialeah, or Weston, Florida, today

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