Do seizure disorders affect women differently than men?

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Seizure disorders, also known as epilepsy, can affect women differently than men. This is due in part to the difference between hormones in women and men. Researchers believe that the female hormones estrogen and progesterone may play a role in how epilepsy affects women, perhaps because they affect the same parts of the brain that are affected by certain types of seizures. These same hormones are in birth control pills, and women who use this contraception method may find that they conflict with some kinds of antiepileptic drugs. Pregnant women may also be at increased risk for miscarriage or damaging the fetus if they are taking drugs for epilepsy. However, if you are pregnant and have epilepsy, you should not discontinue your medication without talking to your doctor first. Between 25 and 40 percent of women with epilepsy have more frequent seizures during pregnancy. There is also a serious seizure disorder called eclampsia that is specific to pregnant women, but it usually does not lead to lifelong epilepsy once the woman is no longer pregnant.

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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.