There may also be speech loss or visual
disturbance. If the tumour invades the
skull bone, there may be thickening and
bulging of the skull.
be detected by
skull, and can often be completely re-
moved by surgery. Otherwise, treatment
Inflammation of the
(membranes covering the
), usually due to infection.
Viral meningitis tends to occur in epi-
demics in the winter; it is relatively mild.
Bacterial meningitis is life-threatening.
It is mainly caused by the
type B and C bacteria.
meninges via the bloodstream from an
infection elsewhere in the body. Less
commonly, it passes through skull cavi-
ties from an infected ear or
from the air following a
The main symptoms are fever, severe
headache, nausea and vomiting, dislike
of light, and a stiff neck. In viral menin-
gitis, the symptoms are mild and may
resemble influenza. In bacterial menin-
gitis, the main symptoms may develop
over only a few hours, followed by
drowsiness and, occasionally, loss of
consciousness. In about half the cases
of meningococcal meningitis, there is
also a rash under the skin that does not
fade with pressure (see
rash starts as pin-prick spots that can
join to give a bruise-like appearance.
To make a diagnosis, a
is performed. Viral meningitis needs no
treatment and usually clears up within a
week or two with no after-effects. Bacte-
rial meningitis is a medical emergency.
It is treated with intravenous
With prompt treatment, a full re-
covery is usually made. However, brain
damage may occur in some cases.
Vaccines are now given to protect chil-
of the major types of
bacterial meningitis: those caused by
type C bacte-
). For other types
of bacterial meningitis, antibiotic drugs
are given as a protective measure to
people who have come into contact
with the infection.
A protrusion of the spinal
under the skin that is
caused by a congenital defect in the
Another name for
A surgical procedure in
which all or part of a damaged
(cartilage disc) is removed from a joint,
almost always from the knee. Menis-
cectomy may be carried out when
damage to the meniscus causes the
knee to lock or to give way repeatedly.
The procedure cures these symptoms
and reduces the likelihood of premature
in the joint.
may be carried out to
confirm and locate the damage, and the
damaged area removed by instruments
passed through the arthroscope.
Alternatively, the meniscus may be
removed through an incision at the side
In either case, there may be an in-
creased risk of osteoarthritis in later
life, but this is less than if the damaged
meniscus had been left in place.
A crescent-shaped disc of
cartilaginous tissue found in several
joint has 2 menisci, and
of the jaw, have one
each. The menisci are held in position
and help to reduce friction
during joint movement.
The cessation of
, which usually occurs between the
ages of 45 and 55. The term is usually
used to refer to a period of physical and
psychological changes that occur as a
result of reduced
Symptoms of menopause include
and night sweats; vaginal dry-
ness caused by thinning of the vaginal
skin; and a decrease in vaginal secre-
tions. The vagina shrinks and loses
elasticity, and becomes prone to minor
infections. Vaginal dryness may also
make sexual intercourse more difficult
and painful (see
). The neck of
the bladder and urethra undergo similar
changes, which can result in a feeling of
needing to urinate frequently.