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Adults w/Epilepsy

Women

More than one million women and girls in the United States are living with seizure disorders. They face many unique challenges, from changes during the monthly cycle which may trigger seizures to concerns regarding pregnancy. Social factors leave them vulnerable to discrimination and abuse. Yet their plight and the manner in which they are affected has been largely ignored. As an important part of the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona’s role in advocating for all people with epilepsy, we are committed to addressing the unique health concerns of women with epilepsy.

  • Depression is a major risk for about one in three women with epilepsy.
  • Women with epilepsy face epilepsy-related reproductive difficulties throughout their lives, including increased rates of sexual dysfunction, infertility and seizures related to the menstrual cycle.
  • Despite risks, successful pregnancy is possible, but often inappropriately discouraged by health care providers.
  • Long-term use of some anti-epileptic drugs negatively affects bone health in women.

Key Information for Women with Epilepsy

Women & Hormones

April 14, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona There is a connection between seizures and hormones, although we do not understand it very well. We know that the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, act on certain brain cells, including those in the temporal lobe, a part of the brain where partial seizures often begin. Read More

Birth Control for Women with Epilepsy

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona All available birth control methods can be used by persons with epilepsy. These include: Barriers: diaphragms, spermicidal vaginal creams, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and condoms; Hormonal contraception: birth control pills, hormone implants, or hormone injections. Read More

Epilepsy and Sexual Relations

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona Sexual relationships are a normal part of healthy living. Three things lead to sexual activity: first there is desire - wanting to have sex with a partner. When that feeling is strong, there is arousal - the physical feeling that you “need” to have sex. Read More

Pregnancy and Epilepsy Medication

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona Studies which are being conducted in the area of pregnancy and epilepsy have helped to establish some guidelines for women with epilepsy. Many questions remain unanswered, however, and this is why continued research is so important. Read More

Health Issues After Your Baby is Born

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona After your baby is born, your hormones change and medication levels in your bloodstream tend to rise, increasing the possibility of side effects. These factors may make it necessary for your physician to check medication blood levels more frequently in the first few months after delivery. Read More

Bone Density and Epilepsy

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona For both men and women who have epilepsy, there is an increased risk of bone disease due to certain medications that have been linked to reduced bone health. These include Dilantin, Tegretol, Phenobarbital and Depakote. Read More

Menopause and Epilepsy

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop working, her menstrual periods stop and the level of sex hormones in her body decreases. We know that because hormones have an effect on brain function, seizure patterns may change in some women as they go through menopause. Read More

Special Concerns for Teenage Girls

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona Puberty is the time when your body changes and you grow from a child into an adult. You get taller and weigh more, and you start to grow breasts and body hair. Some of these physical changes happen quickly and the dose of seizure medicine that worked before is not enough for your new body size. Read More

 

Men

Comparatively little has been written specifically for men with epilepsy, but this is not because epilepsy affects men any less than it does women. In fact, the numbers of those affected by epilepsy are largely viewed as equal between genders although some studies have reported that slightly more men have epilepsy than women.

For men with epilepsy, a wide range of issues exist, although these vary depending on age, seizure type and severity, and with overall health and lifestyle circumstances and include libido, fertility, bone density, and depression.

An important aspect of the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona’s role in advocating for those with epilepsy, we are committed to addressing the unique health concerns of men with epilepsy.

Epilepsy and Hormonal Effects

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona Epilepsy is associated with hormonal changes. For instance, experts estimate that approximately 40 percent of men with epilepsy (MWE) have low levels of testosterone, the hormone that stimulates the development of male sex organs, sexual traits and sperm. Read More

Sexuality and Antiepileptic Drugs

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona The use of AEDs may result in one or more of the following adverse impacts on sexuality: Read More

Libido

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona Several recent studies document that men with epilepsy (MWE) experience lowered libido. The following scientific data support this statement. One study found that between 50 percent and 70 percent of all MWE report decreased sexual function and/or libido. Read More

Reproduction and Fertility

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona Epilepsy does have an impact on reproductive function and fertility. Statistically, men with epilepsy (MWE) have a disproportionately high risk of reproductive dysfunction, which manifests as diminished potency and abnormal sperm characteristics and can decrease fertility. Read More

Bone Density and Epilepsy

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona For both men and women who have epilepsy, there is an increased risk of bone disease due to certain medications that have been linked to reduced bone health. These include Dilantin, Tegretol, Phenobarbital and Depakote. Read More

Parenting

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona As a man with epilepsy, your offspring are at a slightly higher risk than the general population for developing this disorder. Recent studies show that offspring of men with epilepsy (MWE) have a 2.4 percent risk of developing it, as opposed to the general population, whose risk is estimated at 1 percent. Read More

Self-Esteem

April 26, 2014 | Epilepsy Arizona There is no evidence that epilepsy per se causes low self-esteem. However, recent research suggests that people with epilepsy sometimes have difficulty forming relationships with others, possibly due to neurological damage to the temporal lobe. Read More