Symptoms Of Spinal Fluid Leakage: Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Causes

Spinal fluid or more technically termed as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear fluid that circulates in the brain and the spinal cord.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Function


  • It makes the brain lighter. The actual mass of the brain is heavy enough to cut off the blood supply and destroy brain cells without CSF.
  • It serves as cushion force as CSF protects the brain from injuries or accidents that produces sudden motion in the head such as sports and even your daily activities. In such events such as vehicular accidents where there is too much force, the CSF cannot protect the brain and may lead to brain damage and even death.
  • Serves as chemical stabilizer. The CSF allows chemical balances that enters and leaves the brain and controls its pH.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Causes

A CSF leak may happen because of a tear from one or more of the following:

  • Head injuries
  • Surgery in the brain, head, or in the spine
  • Injection of epidural anesthesia or medications administered at this route
  • Certain diagnostic exams such as spinal or lumbar tap
  • There are times that no cause can be identified as in spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak syndrome (SCSFLS)

Symptoms Of Spinal Fluid Leakage

  • A headache that worsens when you stand or sit up and gets better when lying down
  • A clear, odourless drainage in the ear.
    This is rare.
  • Runny nose or a sudden flow of clear and odourless fluid even without colds.

Spinal Fluid Leakage Diagnosis

Here are the exams to diagnose causes of leakage of cerebrospinal fluid:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • X-ray with injection of a contrast dye to track any tear in the brain and spinal covering that causes the leak.

Spinal Fluid Leakage Treatment


  • Complete bed rest. Patients are not allowed to sit or stand.
  • You can have pain relievers for headache.
  • If fever occurs, antibiotics and anti-fever medications is prescribed. Fever is indicative of infection.