Women with Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a chronic condition that can last a lifetime. Women with epilepsy have found that the disease raises an additional set of issues. These issues can range from how you feel about yourself to whether or not you want to have children to aging well.
In honor of Women’s History Month, and of course all the women who have struggled with these decisions, this post is dedicated to the ladies out there.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that we bleed once a month, research is now being done to determine what sort of impact the hormones, estrogen and progesterone, have on brain activity (including seizures). This can have a marked impact as puberty begins.
If you find that your seizures seem to get worse around the time of your period, be sure to mention it to your neurologist. You may have what is referred to as Catamenial Epilepsy.
Time to get sexy
When you are feeling a little sexy, be sure to consider your whole body. Epilepsy and Sex are a fine pair but you will need to be sure that you are taking all the necessary precautions. Sounds romantic doesn’t it. Some anticonvulsants can make birth control pills less effective putting you at risk for pregnancy. Conversely, some birth control can make some anticonvulsants less effective putting you at risk of having a seizure.
Pregnancy and Epilepsy
If you are concerned about taking your medication during pregnancy be sure to read all the literature available (there is new information every day). Depending on your medication, and when you become pregnant, and the research available at the time, you may be able to stay on your medication, and/or your doctor may recommend an increase in dosage. Additionally, you may want to consider adding Folic Acid to protect you and any potential baby from a neural tube defect.
Women with epilepsy are at higher risk for pre-eclampsia and post partum depression. As such, be sure to talk through these risks and strategies to handle them with your health care provider.
After the baby comes
As my dad used to say, “Pick your spots.” He just meant you can’t hold your breath through life, but you can be careful about the choices you make. Make sure friends and family know about your epilepsy so they can pitch in if need be. Having extra hands can be especially important when that baby won’t sleep for days on end. And we all know how important sleep is for people living with epilepsy.
Since hormone patterns change during menopause it stands to reason that seizure patterns could change too. I’ve linked here for information on Menopause and Epilepsy.
I hope you find this helpful. Share where you are on your journey with epilepsy.
Founder and CEO
Jessica brings a unique perspective to this leading epilepsy blog as she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen. She also brings 20+ years experience in marketing.
I've been thinking about all of this a lot myself. Particularly the hormonal/seizure connection.
Jessica Keenan Smith
Thanks for your comment. I'm sure many women are impacted by the interaction. Still not enough research though.
I just got these two books that might be of interest to you-they aren't specifically about epilepsy but talk in general about women, hormonal issues and diet, balancing these things through Ayurveda. Interesting concept and could very well be applied to women with Epilepsy, if you feel it's right for you.
Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life by Dr. Claudia Welch http://tinyurl.com/4fqaxto
Anjum's Eat Right For Your Body Type
Jessica Keenan Smith
Awesome, thanks Kris!
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