ZocdocAnswersShould I be worried about headaches I am getting in the middle of the night?

Question

Should I be worried about headaches I am getting in the middle of the night?

About a year ago, I had a cyst removed from my pituitary. During the surgery, I started to leak spinal fluid and was in the hospital for 8 days in order to drain the fluid. Since then, I have haf chronic headaches that wake me up in the middle of the night. I have kept a head ache log and they seem to occur from the hours of 3am-6am. These headaches are so intense that they often leave me in tears. My neuroseurgon has referred me to another neurologist that deals with headaches. However, I can not get into her for almost 2 months. Is this something I should be worried about? What are the chances that another cyst/tumor has appeared over the past 8 months (date of my last MRI/CT Scan)? Thanks!

Answer

I am very sorry to hear that you are having such terrible problems with headaches! Unfortunately headaches after neurosurgical procedures, such as surgery on the pituitary gland, can be a common complication. Usually these are limited to the immediate period of recovery after the surgery, but they can sometimes become chronic and require chronic headache treatments by a neurologist. So, in general, I think your doctor's plan of getting a neurology consult to help you deal with the headaches is a good one. I do agree with you, though, that worsening headaches, especially that wake you up in the middle of the night, are very concerning, and I also would want to rule out a recurrence of the tumor. This is an issue that you should talk to your neurosurgeon about, since they know your case better than anyone else. I suggest that you call them on the phone, or set up an urgent visit, so that you can explain better how severe your headaches have become and get their opinion on whether or not you need to have a repeat imaging study of the brain to rule out a tumor. I hope that you get some answers and are feeling better soon!

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