Are headaches and epilepsy in children related?

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If you have epilepsy, your chances of having headaches are twice as high. Headaches may occur before, during or after the seizure. The most common headache associated with epilepsy is called a post-ictal headache, meaning that the headache occurs after seizure activity. These headaches may last for up to 24 hours.

Less commonly, a headache may be a sign that a seizure is approaching. These headaches are called pre-ictal, because they occur before the seizure activity starts. They are one type of aura, the symptoms that warn of a coming seizure. These headaches are generally brief. 

In rare cases, the brain wave changes seen on the EEG show that a headache is actually the only symptom of a seizure. It is called an ictal headache. Ictal headaches are seen in all types of epilepsy, including generalized epilepsy. There is a type of epilepsy syndrome in children, known as benign epilepsy of childhood with occipital paroxysms, in which 25% of the children have headache as their only symptom. It is often misdiagnosed as a migraine. The correct diagnosis can only be made, if the neurologist determines that an abnormal EEG shows epilepsy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.