A headache can give you the fleeting idea that you have a brain tumor. Sure, your pain likely went away after a while. But you should know that symptoms can include nearly anything imaginable depending on the brain tumor’s location, explains Prevention. Here are the strange signs that could mean you have a brain tumor, including one bizarre symptom that’s easily overlooked (on number 10).
1. Short-term memory loss
Feeling forgetful? It could just be that you’re getting older — but it may also be a sign that you’ve developed a brain tumor. Dr. Theodore Schwartz tells Prevention that most people with brain tumors are more likely to have trouble with their memory than they are to have more dramatic symptoms.
It’s also important to note that some may also experience more severe, long-term memory loss, the American Brain Tumor Association. If you have a tumor, you may also notice you’re having trouble retrieving older memories.
We know by now that major depressive disorder is increasingly common and can arise due to various factors. But if you’re experiencing a few of the symptoms on this list and feeling down, it may be a sign you have a brain tumor.
ABTA notes depression is very common amongst those with tumors, with an estimated one in four dealing with a major depressive disorder while having one. And remember: Major depression is far longer-lasting than just feeling sad for a few days. It will likely impact every aspect of your daily life.
3. Difficulty reading or writing
If you love spending a night in with a good book, this becomes vastly more difficult if you’ve developed a brain tumor. Everyday Health explains certain cognitive problems, like the ability to read, write, and understand language, are a huge challenge for many with this condition. Not only that, but the treatments can also cause problems here.
A decline in your ability to read and write (or concentrate on conversations or the media you’re consuming) may be so gradual you barely notice, though. In this case, you’re likely to notice the difference when it all comes back to you after the tumor has been taken care of.
4. Numbness in the body or face
HealthCommunities.com explains if a tumor obstructs your sensory structures, it’s common for certain senses to feel muddled. Also, in this case, you may feel numbness or tingling through your body or face.
Dr. Schwartz tells Prevention that tumors that form on the brain stem are also likely to cause a physical loss of sensation, as this is the place where your brain connects with your spinal cord. Even if you don’t have a tumor, unusual numbness is typically a cause for concern, so always bring it up to your doctor.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact source of nausea in many cases. But if you’re experiencing frequent bouts of feeling sick, Verywell explains it could be a brain tumor that’s causing the issue.
Pay particular attention to how you’re feeling in the morning. If you’re vomiting upon waking up — despite whether you actually feel nauseous or not — this is an indicator that you may have a brain tumor. Abrupt changes, such as rolling over in bed, can trigger this response.
If you’re fumbling every time you go to grab something you need, it may be easy to ignore. But you should know that an increase in clumsiness could be a sign of a serious problem. Dr. Schwartz tells Prevention that brain tumors can affect your body in many ways, and if you’re struggling with balance or missing steps when you walk, this isn’t a normal sign of aging you should just get used to.
Clumsiness can also show up around your head, too. If you’re having trouble controlling your facial expressions, this loss of control is a sign.
7. Loss of hearing
You can blame it on all the concerts you went to growing up, but a sudden decrease in your ability to hear is never a normal thing. Like sudden vision loss, hearing loss can also come from a brain tumor in the same part of the brain.
When a tumor changes your hearing, it may not affect both ears equally, either. Many have reported one-sided hearing loss or separate ringing in the ears, says Verywell.com.
8. Growth of hands and feet
As stated before, your pituitary gland is responsible for releasing hormones. When a large tumor presses on this gland, many bodily functions can go seriously awry — and you may also notice your shoe size getting bigger. If you’re suddenly seeing that your hands and feet have become larger, a tumor in this area of the brain may be to blame, Cancer.net explains. In addition, women may also see other hormonal changes, like lactation or changes in their menstrual cycle if they’re pre-menopausal.
Think you’re hearing things? Verywell explains your temporal lobe is most involved in your ability to speak and hear clearly. When a tumor obstructs this area, a number of things can happen — and this includes auditory hallucinations.
Healthcommunities.com also explains tumors in this location of the brain can cause you to see things that aren’t really there, either. Alternatively, if your hallucination isn’t this severe, you may have trouble distinguishing the size of objects near you.
10. Sudden changes in personality
Many with brain tumors experience some sort of personality change, and it can range from subtle to severe. And like the mood swings, if the frontal or temporal lobes are the ones that are affected by the tumor, then you’re more likely to see changes in the way you’re acting, thinking, or feeling. Also, tumors in the pituitary gland can also have an effect, as this area of the brain controls hormones.
If you’re receiving treatment for a tumor, you may also notice some personality changes here, too. The Brain Tumour Charity notes surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy may have an impact, but with recovery, those changes will pass.
11. Sleeplessness and a lack of energy
We all could use more sleep these days. But if you’re getting your eight hours of shuteye per night and you’re still feeling your energy levels drop significantly each day, you’ll want to pay attention. Verywell explains a tumor in the pituitary gland is likely to affect how much energy you have.
Additionally, many brain tumor treatments are also likely to affect your energy levels. If you’re going through treatment, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help.
12. Changes in vision
Over time, it’s natural for your vision to worsen. But sudden changes in how well you can see are cause for concern. Verywell reports that you should pay special attention if you’re noticing flashing lights, double vision, blurriness, or a loss of your ability to see.
Also, if you notice one pupil of your eye is dilated, this could be a sign of an emergency situation with a tumor involving the brainstem. And Cancer.net notes an inability to look upward could also point to a tumor near the pineal gland.
Surprisingly, this may be one of the first signs that there’s major trouble in your brain, Prevention reports. Dr. Schwartz explains that brain tumors can cause irritation that “makes the [brain’s] neurons fire uncontrollably, and you get abnormal movements.”
While you may envision a seizure looking like sudden, jerky movements, they actually take many forms. In some cases, only one part of the body or face can cause unusual jerking or flexing. Or in other cases, a seizure can cause to stare into space and not see your surroundings.
14. Difficulty talking
You might blame it on feeling tired, but having altered speech problems is a huge sign that something’s up with your brain. Verywell explains if you’re slurring your speech or having a difficult time saying your words clearly, you may have a tumor. Additionally, take note if those around you tell you that you’re making little sense when you talk, as rearranging your sentences is also a bad sign. You may also have a problem understanding others when they’re speaking, too.
15. Mood swings
Maybe you’re just having an emotional day — but there could be a lot more going on below the surface when it comes to mood swings. Of course, rapid changes in mood alone aren’t enough to suspect a brain tumor is present. But you should be aware that if there is a tumor, it’s probably in your frontal lobe or temporal lobe in this case, says ABTA. These areas of the brain are responsible for personality and behavior. And over half of those with malignant brain tumors experience symptoms like mood swings.