Head trauma does not always result in immediate symptoms. Sometimes, severe traumatic brain injuries do not present with symptoms for hours or days following the injury. If you notice clear fluid draining from one side of your nose or your ear, it may indicate that you have a cerebrospinal fluid leak.
Cleveland Clinic claims head trauma and spinal injuries can cause a CSF leak.
What is CSF?
CSF is a clear fluid that surrounds the spine and brain. It serves as a cushion to protect against spinal cord and brain injuries. Additionally, CSF delivers nutrients and removes waste from the brain. If you have a small tear in the outermost layer of your connective tissue, CSF can leak out.
What indicates a CSF leak?
If you have a CSF leak, you may suffer from a headache that feels worse when you sit up or stand but better if you lay down. Additionally, you may have difficulty seeing, especially in bright lights. Balance problems and stiffness and pain are common in patients with a CSF leak. If you suffer head trauma and feel nauseous, cannot balance or have hearing changes, it can indicate a severe injury.
Drainage is a unique symptom. You may experience the watery, clear drainage from one side of your nose or ear if you tilt your head forward. Additionally, you may feel it drain down the back of your throat, resulting in a salty or metallic taste.
Treatment depends on the location of the leak. You may require bed rest, IV caffeine infusions, hydration and saline infusions. When you have a leak from your nose, you may require a nasal endoscopy.