Related Topics: Conditions, Features, Hormones, Menopause

How Epilepsy Can Affect The Menstrual Cycle At Puberty And Perimenopause

Dr Bond has noticed in her own practice that there is a link between oestrogen dominance and epilepsy.

Dame Dr Shirley Bond

Many women who are prone to epilepsy and other seizures have noticed a connection between them and their menstrual cycle. Having epilepsy can have an effect on your menstrual cycle as some women with epilepsy have irregular periods, especially if they have frequent seizures. Irregular periods can be caused by having epilepsy itself, seizures and some epilepsy medicine and irregular periods can lead to anovulatory periods and low progesterone levels.

Sometimes these episodes start with the onset of puberty. Sometimes they suddenly become more frequent when a woman enters the peri menopause. Those women who notice the association with their menstrual cycle find that they experience more, worse, or only notice them in the few days preceding their period.

These associations suggest a strong link to the condition of oestrogen dominance. Doctors have learned that both progesterone and oestrogen interact with our brain cells. Oestrogen is an “excitatory” hormone, which means that it makes brain cells give off more of an electrical discharge. Progesterone, on the other hand, is an “inhibitory” hormone, which means that it calms those cells down.

When the body is making more oestrogen than progesterone (oestrogen dominance),  then it can make the nervous system “excitable.” In other words, you could be at greater risk for seizures. The hormones aren’t actually causing the seizures, but they can influence when they happen.

How progesterone helps:

Many of these women have found that the use of progesterone has helped their situation in that clusters have been reduced and some have found that their seizures do not occur or if they do are considerably less frequent.

The reason for oestrogen dominance having this effect is not understood but has been observed and rebalancing with bioidentical progesterone certainly seems to help, and a number of articles have been written on the subject.

Further reading:

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