I recently had an interesting conversation in the comments section of a post I wrote about my pulsatile tinnitus. Reader Linda is pregnant, and she sadly has developed PT. My heart goes out to Linda, but I have hope. It turns out that many pregnant women get temporary PT. This is because of the increased blood flow during pregnancy. Often, after the body has gone back to its normal state after birth, the PT disappears. I'm very hopeful for Linda that her whoosh will whoosh itself away when her little one comes out! You can read the comments here to see our conversation about this. Now again, I'm not a doctor, so it's possible that Linda is developing one of the other causes of PT. I'm hoping this isn't the case. She will have to (annoyingly) wait and see if it disappears. If not, time for more investigation. (Linda: I'm whooshing with you in spirit, girl!!)
One question Linda had that I promised to answer in a post was about the head turning thing. Many of us whooshers notice that our whooshes get LOUDER if we turn our heads to the left or the right. Remember -- I'm NOT a doctor. This is a guess on my part, but I think the process makes sense. When you turn your head, all of the "stuff" in your head and neck turns with you. By twisting or adding pressure to the veins/arteries, you're temporarily changing the blood flow in there. Just as when you push on a water balloon and part of it pooches out, your blood runs a differently when you turn your head. I believe it gets louder simply because you moved. Sad but true. This is MY theory. Others are certainly welcome.
Regarding what's going on with me, Dr. Possibility found no additional abnormalities on my MRI/MRA from 2010, which is great news. However, now I need to get a CT or MR venogram, which is a test where they look at the blood flow through your head/neck veins with contrast. I asked what the difference was between this test and a CT angiogram (I had one of those back in 2007 in Chicago and was deemed "unremarkable."). Dr. Possibility explained:
- CT venogram = looks at veins
- CT angiogram = looks at arteries
Once again, I'm grateful to have NOT gone to Dr. Google for this or I would have found a bunch of scary things, no doubt. I've learned my lesson well: Ask a real doctor -- NOT Dr. Google. Also? I'm constantly amazed at the inner workings of the human body. It's fascinating, totally bizarre, and I commend anyone who studies this stuff/works on it for a living. You are amazing, all of you.
I've been trying to explain what is going on with me to my friends and family, but it's very hard to help people understand, especially because I'm Not a Doctor. The word "sinus" keeps tripping people up. The sigmoid sinus isn't a sinus, it's a vein, but that rarely makes sense in general conversation. I found this image of the head and neck anatomy and marked it up to show what's going on with me:
Original image c/o Quizlet.com
As you can see in this image, the sigmoid sinus (vein) is INSIDE your head bones. If those bones wear away, the vein is going to intrude upon the ear apparatus, including the all-important eardrum. Now, after minding your own business and blissfully living your life in silence, the normal and natural sound of your blood flow is suddenly going to make itself known. WHOOSH WHOOSH WHOOSH.
So why does the bone wear away? Well, your vein is pooching out. Imagine a hose in your garden. Imagine one part of that hose gets a weak spot. So over time, the hose gets a little bulge. That's what happens with your veins, too. I have a bulge in my vein (sinus) in my head -- right next to my ear. The bulge rubs on the bone and wears it away. I am very lucky that (SO FAR) I can only hear my heartbeat. If enough of the bone disappears, you can start to HEAR YOUR EYEBALLS MOVING. You can read about that problem HERE.
Now on to my bones -- well, someone's bones. I
I'm hoping this will give all of my loved ones a better understanding of what is going on with my head/veins/whoosh. To be honest, I'm overwhelmed by it on my own, and trying to explain it over and over is exhausting. OOF.
Now I need to see if Dr. Whooshsaver will order the CT venogram, which I'm sure he will. Then I'll wait to see what Dr. Possibility thinks about it. This is the next step toward surgery, which is both exhilarating and BATSH*T TERRIFYING.
The closer I get to a possible surgery, the more scared and anxious I get. There has been crying involved. But I know my other whooshers are out there, and I know you are with me. I am not alone. You are not alone.
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