Women and Epilepsy

Epilepsy affects both men and women, but the health, treatment and impact of having epilepsy will vary depending on gender. Epileptologists are trained to consider the variables which relate to a diagnosis of epilepsy in women. There are epilepsy doctors that specialize in diagnosing and treating epilepsy in women.  

Some things for consideration for women diagnosed with epilepsy:

  • Hormonal changes in a woman will vary throughout her lifespan as well as during monthly menstrual cycles and these fluctuations can affect seizure control.
  • Seizures may start, stop or change at times of puberty, pregnancy or menopause.
  • Some women may have reproductive problems or concerns around menopause that need careful evaluation and treatment by both epilepsy and women's health providers.
  • The overwhelming majority of women with epilepsy have healthy babies. But the care of women with epilepsy needs special consideration to ensure healthy mothers and babies.
  • Some seizure medications have a greater risk of birth defects in the child when the mother takes the medicine during pregnancy. Advance planning before pregnancy can help women tailor their care so that the best medication to control seizures is implemented before pregnancy.
  • Being a mother with epilepsy often raises unique challenges. Being informed and finding the right parenting skills, support and resources is a must for any mother.
  • Hormones, seizures and epilepsy can affect bone health too and is a special consideration to discuss with your primary care physician and neurologist.