Women and girls with epilepsy have unique health concerns. As a result of these differences, women with epilepsy can face special challenges.
This includes issues relating to reproductive health, hormonal and menstrual cycles, contraception, bone health, parenting, menopause, and usage of certain anti-epileptic medications.
Our Women in Mind program includes resource kits which contain information specifically for women and girls living with epilepsy.
We also host lectures and highlight new developments and research about women’s health and epilepsy.
A list of our related Information Sheets, lectures, news alerts, research findings, and other useful sources of information are found below.
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Hormones & Epilepsy in Women
Female hormones control many processes in the body. Their impact on brain cells can have implications on seizure frequency.
Special Concerns About Seizure Medications for Women
Different anti-epileptic medications can have different impacts on women as compared to men.
Special Concerns About Epilepsy for Teenage Girls
Puberty brings physical changes that may require adjustments in medication dosages and/or types, and the need for vitamin supplementation.
Epilepsy and Contraception
Certain seizure medicines can make some contraceptive methods less effective.
Epilepsy & Sexual Relationships for Women
It is not unusual for people to have sexual difficulties, and women and men with epilepsy are no exception.
Pregnancy & the Mother’s Health
Pregnancy could affect seizure frequency, may require changes in medications, and have other impacts on women with epilepsy.
Pregnancy & the Developing Child
Anti-epileptic medications could have potential risks on a developing child. The frequency and potential severity of these are discussed.
Parenting Concerns for the Mother with Epilepsy
Every prospective parent has to think through issues that could affect the safety of their baby. Included are some tips specifically for women with epilepsy.
Menopause & Epilepsy
Seizure frequency may change in some women as they go through menopause. There is also an increased risk of fractures.
Certain anti-epileptic medications could decrease bone density. This risk is higher in women.
LECTURES AND PRESENTATIONS
Issues for Women with Epilepsy
The presentation slides of a lecture delivered on April 29, 2014 by Dr. Tiffany Townsend.
The 2013 Spring/Summer edition of this magazine features articles about issues that affect women with epilepsy.
Women Succeeding with Epilepsy
These online videos and articles profile women with epilepsy. They are inspiring stories about women in diverse circumstances.
Women's Health Topics
This is a section of the Epilepsy Foundation website. It includes information about the biological and social issues that affect women with epilepsy.
The North American Anti-Epileptic Drug (AED) Pregnancy Registry
This is a research project established to determine the safety of seizure medications that can be taken by women during pregnancy. It is maintained out of Genetics and Teratology Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Women who enroll will be asked to provide information about the health status of their children in three short phone interviews. Any woman who is currently pregnant and is taking AEDs is strongly encouraged to enroll to help advance research on this topic.
RECENTLY PUBLISHED RESEARCH FINDINGS & NEWS ITEMS
EU Strengthens Warnings on Valproate Use in Women
Medscape Medical News
Treatment for Epilepsy in Pregnancy: Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in the Child
The Cochrane Library
Anti-Epileptic Drugs and Risk of Miscarriage
MGH Center for Women's Mental Health
Birth Outcomes After Prenatal Exposure to Antiepileptic Drugs
The Outcomes of Pregnancy in Women with Untreated Epilepsy
Allopregnanolone Levels and Seizure Frequency in Progesterone-Treated Women with Epilepsy
Epilepsy and Menopause: Potential Implications for Pharmacotherapy
Drugs and Aging
Pregnancy Might Protect Against Seizures For Women with Catemenial Epilepsy
The Efficacy of the Newer Antiepileptic Drugs in Controlling Seizures in Pregnancy
Pregnant Women with Bipolar and Epilepsy Often Undertreated
American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP) 2014 Annual Meeting. Abstract 78.
Breastfeeding in Children of Women Taking Antiepileptic Drugs: Cognitive Outcomes At Age Six Years
Epilepsy and Menopause
Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
A website for teen girls with epilepsy has been launched. It is called Girls with Nerve.
New Anti-Epileptic Drugs and Women
SUDEP and Epilepsy-Related Mortality in Pregnancy
Birth Weight and Cognition in Children with Epilepsy
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: Sex-Based Differences and Neuropeptide Locations
Epilepsy drug lamotrigine use in pregnancy: fewer doctor visits ahead?
Decreased Seizure Threshold in an Eclampsia-Like Model Induced in Pregnant Rats with Lipopolysaccharide and Pentylenetetrazol Treatments
In Utero Exposure to Levetiracetam vs Valproate: Development and Language at 3 Years of Age.
In Utero Valproate Exposure and Autism: Long Suspected, Finally Proven
Less Than Half of Young Women With Epilepsy Take Folic Acid
Medscape Medical News
New Findings on Women, Pregnancy, and the Effects of Epilepsy
American Epilepsy Society
Should All Antiepileptic Drugs be Given with Folic Acid?
Stigma and psychiatric morbidity among mothers of children with epilepsy in Zambia