The Water Head (Hydrocephalus) – What is it?

The literal translation of hydrocephalus means hydrocephalus. This is a concept for many people, but hardly anyone knows what it is about. In short, it is an expansion of the cerebrospinal fluid spaces of the brain, which is usually caused by a disturbance of the cerebrospinal fluid circulation.

hydrocephalus head

The human brain is surrounded by fluid, the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We form it inside the brain in a chamber system, the ventricles. Up to 90% of the CSF is filtered out of the blood vessels and this then flows off via the lateral ventricles. The cerebrospinal fluid then flows from there into the third ventricle. A small narrow channel (Aquäductus cerebri) between the third and fourth ventricles serves as communication.

The ventricles are connected to each other with narrow channels and openings (foramen monroi), through this connection a connection to the lateral ventricles is given and through these openings the cerebrospinal fluid can flow off. It enters through three openings from the fourth ventricle to the surface of the brain. There the cerebrospinal fluid is reabsorbed by the meninges and cerebral veins and a cycle of production and absorption is created. The flow of cerebrospinal fluid is ensured by an interaction between blood pressure and the elasticity of the pulsating arteries. There is a flow equilibrium between the formation of water and absorption. If this equilibrium is disturbed, pressure increases quickly occur and HC occurs. The brain water has the functions to regulate the intracranial pressure, to keep the brain tissue moist and to transport metabolic products.

What can be causes?


The reasons for the HC are usually bottlenecks or displacements in the ventricle system due to:

  • congenital brain malformations
  • cysts, tumors
  • Craniocerebral Trauma
  • excess production of cerebrospinal fluid
  • in association with a spina bifida and/or a Chiari II maformation
  • prenatal infection or bleeding
  • postnatal infection (e.g. meningitis)
  • increased protein concentration of the cerebrospinal fluid
  • Thromboses in the area of the head
  • Liquor resorption disorders
  • Toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy
  • Oxygen deficiency at birth
  • Genetic disturbance

How much brain fluid is produced daily?


An infant produces approx. 100 ml, an infant approx. 250 ml and an adult up to 500 ml brain water. The entire brain water is exchanged approx. three times a day.

This post is also available in: German

William C. Hilberg
As an author, Mr. Hilberg has published several papers on health issues that have gained international recognition. He is close to nature and loves the seclusion and activity as a freelance journalist. In his function as editor William C. Hilberg manages the entire content of PENP. Our team greatly appreciates his expertise and is proud to have him on board.