Recent statistics show that about 1 million women in the United States have epilepsy. Researchers say women with epilepsy may encounter a wide-range of problems while taking certain medications.
Past studies have shown that many women find their seizures change in severity and frequency during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause. Researchers say hormonal changes may be responsible for some of the difficulties women experience.In pregnant women, uncontrolled seizures can lead to miscarriages and infant death. They can also contribute to problems with cognitive development in children. In fact, children of women with epilepsy have a two-fold increased risk of developing cognitive difficulties.
Many women with epilepsy take anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) to help control their seizures but specialists say AEDs are associated with a higher risk for birth defects. They say it is better to get expectant mothers on a single medication that works to minimize side effects and risk.
Thus researchers conclude that women with epilepsy need special care in managing their disorder.