Epilepsy Information



Research has shown that women with epilepsy have fewer children.  There are several possible explanations:

• Choice (fear of having a child with a birth defect)
• Sexual dysfunction
• Women with epilepsy have more frequent anovulatory cycles (a menstrual cycle in which ovulation fails to occur and eggs are not released from the ovaries)
• Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

It is important for you to understand that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is twice as common in women with epilepsy. Possible explanation is that seizure activity in the brain alters the production of hormones. Valproic acid (depakote) causes features similar to PCOS.

By definition, a woman with this condition has two out of the following three symptoms:

• Multiple cysts in the ovaries
• High male hormone levels
• Excessive facial hair and acne

PCOS may produce other features such as:

• Obesity
• Irregular menstrual periods
• More frequent anovulatory cycles 

What should you do?
If you notice any of these symptoms you should consider consulting with your gynecologist or an endocrinologist.