According to a new study published in the journal Neurology, weight loss surgery may be a major risk factor for a specific type of headache. The researchers of the study evaluated 338 patients all with a history of spontaneous intracranial hypotension. These headaches are typically caused by a cerebrospinal fluid leak. The study found that 11 of those patients had some type of weight loss surgery. Though 11 people or 3.3% of the sample is a small number, it was significant enough for the study’s researchers to warn medical professional of the possible relationship.
It’s important to understand the symptoms of this type of headache. Typically this headache is felt when a patient is upright and the pain will go away when they lie horizontally. This is due to leaking spinal fluid, which can also cause stiffness in the neck, pain, nausea and/or vomiting. Body weight is a major factor in cerebrospinal fluid pressure and it’s possible that fat tissue loss may increase one’s ability to refrain from these headaches, the study’s researchers said.
According to the study’s author Wouter I. Schievink, MD of Cedars-Sinal Medical Center in Los Angeles, it’s important for bariatric surgery patients as well as their doctors to be aware of this possible link, which has never been reported. It is believed this could be the cause of sudden and severe headaches that can be treated effectively, however if misdiagnosed serious consequences can result.