About half of women with epilepsy say that they have more seizures around the time of their menstrual period, especially just before it. This situation is so common that there's a name for it: catamenial (KAT-uh-MEEN-ee-ul) epilepsy.

  • These seizures can be hard to control. Don't be embarrassed to talk to your neurologist about them.
  • The neurologist might suggest that you take a slightly higher dose of your seizure medicine at this time of the month, or that you add another medicine.
  • You can also help yourself to have fewer seizures at these times by being careful to get enough sleep and avoiding things like alcohol or too much stress.
  • If you continue to have seizures around menstruation, ask for a referral to an epilepsy specialist, ideally one who specializes in women's issues. More testing may be needed and different options considered. 

Topic Editor:Steven C. Schachter, M.D., Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Last Reviewed:8/25/2013