Chapter 5 Epilepsy in Women. Special Considerations for Adolescents

Mary L. Zupanc, Sheryl Haut

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Adolescence is a time of many changes. It is a time of growing independence, physical and emotional change, accompanied by social insecurity. Girls tend to enter puberty ahead of their male peers, growing and changing physically. Our culture tells adolescents that they are still immature, but their bodies are saying otherwise. The adolescents are also becoming aware of themselves as individuals, separate from their parents, and are presented with the challenges of independent thinking and action. If, in the midst of all of these changes, an adolescent is given the diagnosis of a chronic disease such as epilepsy, there is an additional burden. Often the adolescent must go through a variety of emotions, including shame, denial, anger, and sadness. Our role as medical providers is to provide some perspective to the illness and help guide our adolescent patient through the tumultuous emotions of grieving and acceptance. We must provide a foundation of assistance and emotional support, as well as medical knowledge. With a firm but compassionate hand, we can help them cope with their disorder. In this chapter, Drs. Haut and Zupanc explore some of the unique considerations in adolescent women with epilepsy. The first part of the chapter deals with the epidemiologic diagnosis of epilepsy in adolescence, the effect of epilepsy on reproductive health, hormonal influences on epilepsy (including catamenial seizures), and the effects of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) on hormones, contraception, and bone health. In the second part of the chapter, we deal with the very real psychosocial issues and comorbidities of epilepsy, including quality of life, school performance, depression, migraine headaches, social stigma, and lifestyle changes. In the final section, the authors suggest strategies for clinical patient management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpilepsy in Women The Scientific Basis for Clinical Management
EditorsBarry Gidal, Cynthia Harden
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Neurobiology
ISSN (Print)0074-7742

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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