What do women with seizures need to know to stay healthy?


A seizure occurs when there is excessive neural network activity and or disturbed activity. When people have repeated seizures that are not caused by a substance or an illness, they are diagnosed with epilepsy.

Epilepsy occurs equally among men and women, but this neurological condition may have a different and more significant impact on a woman’s life. This is because the hormonal changes that occur during a woman’s life can influence brain function significantly. For example, sex steroid hormones produced by a woman’s body affect the neural network, which involves how the nerve cells get triggered and connect.

It turns out that estrogens, in general, can excite nerve cells and their networks, while progesterone and it’s break-down products can dampen the effect of cell signals and brain cell networks.

Women who have epilepsy or recurrent seizures often have to make decision during their reproductive years. Furthermore, women who are taking medications that control seizures are often taking oral contraceptive medications.

Oral contraceptives may include combined estrogen/progesterone hormonal therapy for conditions such as acne, dysmenorrhea, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and infertility. Contraceptive use, for example, can reduce the safety of women by reducing the concentrations and efficacy of anti-seizure medications.


A woman with recurrent seizures should understand the following:

  • How will my seizure diagnosis and the medications that I take for controlling seizures impact my pregnancy?

  • What laboratory tests may I need before and during the course of my pregnancy to stay safe?

  • If I continue to take medications during pregnancy and after, what is the risk to my child?

Talk with your doctor and use your brain doctor as a guide to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce disability from seizures.


Ref: www.epilepsy.com: Risks During Pregnancy with Epilepsy| Epilepsy Foundation