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Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center
Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center

Learn more about the Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center. Click the image above to download our brochure.

Epilepsy Support Group Meetings

Adult Epilepsy Support Group

Join our adult educational support group designed to help adults with epilepsy and their families and caregivers. 

Epilepsy and Women-Pregnant

Pregnant?

Join our study and get a free Ipod. Click the image above for details. 

Epilepsy and Women-Non-Pregnant

Volunteer for a Research Study and Get a Free Ipod!

Click the image above for details. 

Women and Epilepsy

IRB Flyer

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects both men and women, children and adults. However, women in all stages of life may need to deal with special circumstances when they have epilepsy. There are a number of epilepsy issues that are specific to women, and that may manifest at different stages of a woman's life.

Women and Epilepsy: The Facts

  • More than 90 percent of women with epilepsy have a normal pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding is generally safe. Common reported problems occur with sedating antiepileptic drugs.
  • Women with epilepsy should have normal sexual interest, but sometimes the antiepileptic drugs may interfere with libido and could be adjusted.
  • Driving is permitted in all states after a variable period of complete seizure freedom. Typically, the waiting period is six months to one year of being seizure-free because of antiepileptic drugs.
  • Antiepileptic drugs can be associated with either an increase or a reduction in body weight, although most medications are weight neutral.


Life Stages and Epilepsy in Women

  • Puberty: The onset of certain epilepsy syndromes begins at the time of puberty. Epilepsy and menstruation influence each other.
  • Pregnancy: Epilepsy can cause hormonal problems, seizures could cause a pregnant woman to fall and hurt her unborn child, and antiepileptic drugs require precautions for pregnant women.
  • Menopause: In some women, epilepsy causes menopause to occur at an earlier age. The frequency and severity of seizures is affected by the hormonal changes of menopause.

For some women, the highest risk for breakthrough seizures (seizures that occur despite the use of antiepileptic drugs) is either at the time of ovulation or right before menses, when the estrogen/progesterone ratio is at its peak. Treatment strategies can include progesterone therapy, contraceptive therapy, variable antiepileptic drug dosing, use of benzodiazepines and acetazolamide therapy.


Effects of Epilepsy on Women

In addition to the above, the effects of epilepsy on women include:

  • A decrease in bone density. This may be a side effect of antiepileptic drugs that can alter bone mineral metabolism. This compromises bone health and produces the increased risk for osteoporosis and fractures.
  • Depression and anxiety. Just like in men, women with epilepsy frequently experience depression and anxiety. This should be discussed with medical personnel at an epilepsy center.
  • Increased psychosocial factors including sexuality and intimacy, marriage, pregnancy, child rearing, employment and independence.


Recommendations for Women with Epilepsy

  • Women should get their recommended daily allowance of calcium and Vitamin D, and undergo a bone mineral density screening.
  • Women with epilepsy should have a discussion with their neurologist before pregnancy to make sure they are taking the safest possible antiepileptic medications.
  • All women of child-bearing age should take folic acid supplements.

Deciding which contraceptive regimen is optimal is one of the most challenging decisions. Monitor for seizure control closely and report any altered seizure patterns so that contraceptive methods and/or antiepileptic drugs can be re-evaluated.


Are you a women with epilepsy?

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center is located at 611 Northern Boulevard, Suite 150 Great Neck, NY 11021. For more information, call the Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center at (516) 325-7060, email us at neuro@nshs.edu or visit us online at neurocni.com
 


We have several downloadable flyers on women and epilepsy, including current research studies on the topic.


 

Epilepsy and Women

Are You Planning on Getting Pregnant?

Epilepsy and Women

Epilepsy and Pregnancy

Are You Planning on Getting Pregnant?

 

Epilepsy and Pregnancy Planning

 

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Department of Neurosurgery

Department of Neurosurgery

Continuing education

2014 America's Top Doctors®

CNI Physicians Named in 2014 Castle Connolly's America's Top Doctors.

Winners of the 2011 Patients' Choice Awards

2013 Patients' Choice Awards

Cushing Neuroscience Institute Physicians Named as Recipients of the 2013 Patients’ Choice Awards!

Best Doctors 2013

2013 Best Doctors in America® List.

Neurosurgeons and Neurologists from North Shore-LIJ’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute Make the List

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