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Progesterone Therapy for Women - Is This an Option for Controlling Seizures?

English: Hormone levels during the menstrual c...
English: Hormone levels during the menstrual cycle: Estradiol, progesterone Modified from Image:MenstrualCycle.PNG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many women with seizures report a change in seizures around their menstrual cycle. Attempts to help control seizures with hormonal therapy have been tried for a number of years, but we never had enough information to tell whether this worked and if so, how well and with whom. While progesterone was not helpful for the majority of women with seizures in the Progesterone study reviewed by Sirven, it did help some women. Most importantly, there was an association between women who had clustering of seizures around their menses and whether or not they would benefit from progesterone use.

So what should women with epilepsy do? Is progesterone treatment worth considering?
  1. Every woman should track their seizures in relation to all possible triggers, for example lack of sleep, missed medicines, use of alcohol or other drugs, or changes in hormonal states. If patterns are noticed, talk to your health care provider about what can be done. Are there lifestyle factors, changes in medicine schedules, or other changes that can be made to help seizure control?
  2. Girls and women of menstruating age should continue to track seizures and their menses. If they notice a significant clustering of seizures around menses, make sure to talk about it with the health care provider treating the seizures. If you haven’t tracked your seizures yet or don’t know how, visit My Epilepsy Diary and get started! You can easily track your menses, mood, seizures and other triggers using this online diary.
  3. Getting more information about your seizures, health and hormonal issues may help you and your providers decide whether progesterone treatment would be worthwhile. Making this decision is just like deciding on any other treatment – do your homework first to learn more about your body, your treatment options, the side effects of treatments, as well as the risks or problems of uncontrolled seizures.
  4. Don’t give up! Use the information you’ve learned to keep asking questions and look at new treatments or other therapies. Hopefully research on hormonal therapies like Progesterone will continue and give help for women with hormone sensitive seizures.
Hope everyone has a safe week!
by Patricia Osborne Shafer RN, MN
Resource Specialist,
Last Reviewed: 8/1/2012
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