About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

What are the Causes, Triggers, Complications and Types of Epilepsy in Children?

Last Updated on Oct 25, 2018
Font : A-A+

Causes of Epilepsy

  • ‘No known cause’ (Idiopathic) in most instances
  • Abnormal brain structure or malformation - eg, tuberous sclerosis and other hamartomas
  • Brain tumors
  • Genetic conditions – eg phenylketonuria, galactosemia
  • Infections - meningitis and encephalitis, parasitic infections (especially cysticercosis) are a frequent cause of epilepsy in under developed countries
  • Head trauma.
What Causes Epilepsy in Children?

Common Triggers

These triggers may stimulate abnormal brain activity and should be avoided or controlled
  • Lack of sleep
  • Prolonged watching of television/computer screen
  • Stress
  • Drugs, alcohol abuse
  • Skipping meals
  • Flickering lights
  • Electrolyte disturbances - eg, hypernatremia (high sodium), hyponatremia (low sodium), hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), hypocalcaemia (low serum calcium), hypomagnesaemia

Complications of Epilepsy

  • Focal seizure complications
    • Emotional disturbances – anger, lack of humor, aggressive and violent behavior
    • Obsessions
    • Hyper/hyposexuality
    • Memory disturbances
    • Prolonged aimless wandering followed by amnesia and inability to recall the incident
  • Generalized seizures
    • Injury to body eg tongue biting, lip and cheek injuries, injuries due to falling down
    • Aspiration of secretions or vomitus
    • Drowning
    • Shoulder dislocation
    • Skull or spinal fractures
    • Status epilepticus

What are the Types of Epilepsy in Children?

Absence or petit mal' seizures – Petit mal epilepsy typically present as frequent (100 times per day or more) episodes of short spells of staring into space spells (lasting a few seconds). It starts in childhood and rarely persists into adult life

Infantile spasms – Seen in infants between 4 to 8 months of age. Occurs as a series of jerks of muscles of the limbs and body especially on waking

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy – Begins during adolescence, starting as early morning with arm and shoulder muscle contraction and jerky movements that may progress over time to seizures that affect the whole body (generalized tonic clonic seizures). It is an inherited condition

Some rarer forms of epilepsy in children include -

Dravet’s syndrome – Sudden appearance of severe seizures with muscle jerks, recurrent seizures involving the whole body with or without fever and occasionally status epilepticus (rapid seizures in succession without intervening period of consciousness)

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – Seizure disorder in children (can be absence type, myoclonic, generalized tonic clonic or atypical) associated with mental retardation due to brain bleed, inherited metabolic conditions, brain infections or hypoxia (lack of oxygen)

Benign Rolandic epilepsy (benign focal epilepsy) – Recurrent seizures in children 4-10 years seen as focal oral or facial movements, sensory disturbances especially at night. Some children may have generalized seizures. It is more common in boys. The condition usually resolves before the end of adolescence

Benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes – Presents as generalized seizures in older children. There is no structural brain lesion and the condition has an excellent prognosis

Panayiotopoulos syndrome – Starts between 3 to 10 years of age. Child becomes pale and feels sick and typically vomits during the seizure. The seizures are prolonged lasting nearly 60 minutes sometimes. Many episodes occur during sleep


  1. Seizure Information for Parents - (https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/specialties/epilepsy-center/seizure-information-for-parents)
  2. Epilepsy in Young Children: What Is the Treatment? - (https://uichildrens.org/health-library/epilepsy-young-children-what-treatment)

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman. (2018, October 25). What are the Causes, Triggers, Complications and Types of Epilepsy in Children?. Medindia. Retrieved on May 16, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/patientinfo/causes-triggers-complications-and-types-of-epilepsy-in-children.htm.

  • MLA

    Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman. "What are the Causes, Triggers, Complications and Types of Epilepsy in Children?". Medindia. May 16, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/patientinfo/causes-triggers-complications-and-types-of-epilepsy-in-children.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman. "What are the Causes, Triggers, Complications and Types of Epilepsy in Children?". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patientinfo/causes-triggers-complications-and-types-of-epilepsy-in-children.htm. (accessed May 16, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman. 2021. What are the Causes, Triggers, Complications and Types of Epilepsy in Children?. Medindia, viewed May 16, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/patientinfo/causes-triggers-complications-and-types-of-epilepsy-in-children.htm.

Do you wish to consult a Pediatrician for your problem? Ask your question

Dr. Karthika Karthikeyan
Dr. Karthika  Karthikeyan
9 years experience
Apollo speciality hospital, Vanagaram
Teleconsult Now View Profile
Dr. Udaya Sree Chennuru
Dr. Udaya Sree Chennuru
10 years experience
Udaya sree, Hyderabad
Teleconsult Now View Profile
View All

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.

Health Topics A - Z

    What's New on Medindia
    World Hypertension Day 2022 - Measure Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!
    Drinking This Popular Beverage May Drop Dementia Risk
    Worst Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to Kids
    View all

    Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Most Popular on Medindia

    Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam) The Essence of Yoga Vent Forte (Theophylline) Indian Medical Journals Hearing Loss Calculator Post-Nasal Drip Sanatogen How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Drug Interaction Checker

    Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

    © All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

    This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use