Cerebrospinal fluid causes include head injury, as a side effect of surgery, the placement of tubes for medications, or a spinal tap, according to MedlinePlus. It is also possible for leakage to spontaneously occur without a cause, but most occur following surgery or spinal procedures.
Symptoms of a cerebrospinal fluid leak include a headache that is worse when sitting up and eases when laying down, explains MedlinePlus. It is also possible for the cerebrospinal fluid to leak through the nose or ears, though this is rare. Doctors diagnose a cerebrospinal fluid leak by performing a CT scan, MRI or radioisotope test. A doctor may also look at the medical history of the patient to determine if events in the history may lead to a cerebrospinal fluid leak.
Many cerebrospinal fluid leaks improve without treatment after a few days, and doctors often recommend complete bed rest, states MedlinePlus. Drinking fluids without caffeine may help to stop the leak and help with headaches. If a person has headaches, doctors recommend pain relievers, but if it lasts longer than a week, a patient must see a doctor for intervention. The doctor may perform a blood patch procedure, which helps to seal the leak. Though a blood patch works in most cases, if it does not, surgery may be a requirement to fix the leak.