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.
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 updated
Pregnancy could affect seizure frequency, may require changes in medications, and have other impacts on women with epilepsy.
Pregnancy & the Developing Child updated
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
A recording of a lecture delivered on May 24, 2011 by Dr. Tiffany Townsend.
View Part 1
View Part 2
You can also view the Power Point slides.
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
Decreased Seizure Threshold in an Eclampsia-Like Model Induced in Pregnant Rats with Lipopolysaccharide and Pentylenetetrazol Treatments
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
Psychiatric comorbidity and social aspects in pregnant women with epilepsy
Epilepsy and Behavior
Malformation in index pregnancy in women with epilepsy is not followed by recurrence in subsequent pregnancy
Pregnancy Labour Stories from Women with Epilepsy
Early Child Development and Exposure to Antiepileptic Drugs Prenatally and Through Breastfeeding: A Prospective Cohort Study on Children of Women With Epilepsy
Drug Dosage of Valproate for Epilepsy Linked to Specific Birth Defects
Medical News Today
Exposure to antiepileptic drugs in utero and child development: A prospective population-based study
Seizure control and treatment changes in pregnancy: Observations from the EURAP epilepsy pregnancy registry
Are Pregnant Women with Epilepsy Properly Counseled on Risks for Malformations? What Electronic Medical Records Revealed
American Association of Neurology Annual Meeting News
Hope for Moms With Epilepsy
FDA news release warns against useage of valproate products during pregnancy
Prenatal Valproate Exposure and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Childhood Autism
The Journal of the American Medical Association
Antiepileptic drug treatment in pregnancy: Changes in drug disposition and their clinical implications
Fetal exposure to antiepileptic drug valproate impairs cognitive development
Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study results