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Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Now, I know some of you may think this is strange, but here goes:

I'm 21 and have had only 2 seizures in my life. One in April of last year and the other in August.  Both were after being on birth control (tri-cyclen lo, to be exact) for 3 months. I stopped taking my birth control after my seizure in April, but I didn't really think anything of it. I wasn't seeing anyone at the time so I just didn't really want it in my system. I started taking my birth control again in June after I met a new guy. After I had the seizure in August (late August) I started to think maybe it was caused by my birth control. The neurologist that was assigned to me said that it was entirely 100% impossible, but my family physician told me there was always a chance. 

I have been completely off my birth control since that last seizure and have not been taking any medications either. I feel a lot healthier and I haven't had a single problem since then, but the neurologist still will not listen to my input about why I think this happened.

I sat down with one of my girl friends that also has epilepsy and told her what was going on. She told me that the same thing happened to her when she started taking the pill but that none of the neurologists here believed her. She went to a husband and wife team in Quebec (way far away) and they told her that it was entirely possible that it was her birth control that caused it.

Anyways, has this happened to anyone else? 

Comments

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

hi kerri i was taking birth control pills when i had a grand mal seizure i started taking the birth control in february and had my seizure in may then 3 weeks later i had another seizure.

i read on the birth conrtol instru that seizures is a side effect so i imeediantly stoped taking them.that was in 2001 and although im on lamictal to control seizures i still havent taken anymore birth control pills and never will in the future.

i would say my epilepsy is due to or linked to hormones as i was had my first seizure after my period finished and then 3 weeks later i had another seizure and after the seizure i went to the toilet and there i had my period so i think its linkedto my hormones.

if i was you i would stop birth controls completly

 

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Thank you for replying. I just wanted to know if there were more people out there that had had something like this happen. Both of my seizures were grand mal.  And lasted around 10 minutes a piece.

I have completely stopped the pill since august. 

thanks again 

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

My 17 year old daughter experienced her first seizure last week and I have tons of questions.  She had been on the pill for 3 1/2 weeks (Nortrel).  There were other variables, she was on her senior class trip, was awake all night, flew for the first time in years (was nervous about it), hadn't eaten much, got off the plane in FL and had grand mal seizure 15 minutes later.  She was hospitalized and had an extensive workup including EEG that shows a risk for further seizures.  One of the doctors on the team mentioned a possible connection between the pill and the seizure, but others felt it was not significant.  Actually, another doctor thought she should remain on the pill!  We are seeing a neurologist tomorrow, and I am anxious to hear what she has to say.  My pharmacist said "anything is possible".  Would love to hear experiences of others.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I am 42 years old and had my first seizure.  I recently had an IUD inserted and a friend of mine wondered if my seizure could have been caused my IUD.  There are many posts about birth control pills and seizures but wondered if anyone had any problems with seizures with the use of an IUD.

 Thanks for any feedback 

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I had seizures when I was a child between the ages of 10-12, but then they went away for almost ten years.  Then I had 3 more between the ages of 19-25.  When I had my first, I wasn't on the IUD, but my body was under a lot of stress since I just had my first baby, wasn't getting enough sleep, and was working long hours.  With my other two seizures,  I was on the IUD, and had several 1 second seizures.  Between the ages of 25-31 wasn't on the IUD and no remember having any seizures of any kind.  Now that I'm on the IUD,  I'm experiencing the 1 second seirzures during my period.  Now after reading your comments, I have come to the conclusion that for me, the IUD is part of my problem.  I'm making an appointment this week to have it removed asp! Oh, and it was interesting to read that estrogen causes them too because I've been drinking flaxseed oil and green tea which are loaded with estrogen.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I have to say...Green tea is not leaded with estrogen.

Does green tea contain estrogens?
No, there is no estrogen in green tea. In fact, there are numerous studies showing that green tea helps lower the levels of estrogen circulating in the blood, and may reduce a person’s risk of developing estrogen-dependent cancers such as breast and uterine cancer.

http://www.greentealibrary.com/Ask%20a%20Question.htm

I personally don't think Flaxseed oil is loaded with estrogen either. So I think you are fine. And there is a study that does say one of the Catechins in green tea can help lower the incidence of seizures (this was an animal study though). But of course it isn't a substitute for meds. It should be used to supplement them though.

Plus, green tea is one of the most potent sources of antioxidants around. It has very wide-ranging health benefits that can hardly be beat.

 I would highly recommend you buy the book Green Tea (the Natural Source for a Healthier Life) by Nadine Taylor  M.S., R.D.   She is a Registered Dietician and is very knowledgeable about alternative healing.

But if you have hormone-related seizures, you might want to get off of birth control pills as fast as possible.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I'm 19 years old and had my first and only grand mal seizure on Monday. I was rushed to the ER, where I woke up. They've taken a cat scan and EEG and I go in for my MRI in a few hours. The EEG showed a "seizure spike" in my left hemisphere, but my neurologist didn't explain any further what that meant. She just said that I now need an MRI and told me I need ot be on LAMICTAL for a year. I asked if my BC could've played a factor and she left it open ended. I have been taking BC for years now, but recently missed starting a pack on time at the end of my menstral cycle. I took the adivce of my doctor and took 2 BC pills at once, it made me violently ill all night Saturday and into Sunday morning. I spent all Sunday trying to recoup. I did NOT take 2 pills Sunday as the doctor had advised me on Saturday for obvious reasons. I also took a motrin at the recommendation of the clinic for a fever I couldn't quite get over. I had started to feel a little better by bed, but had my seizure first thing in the morning Monday. I've read of people having seizures in their sleep but I don't know if i woke up to go to the bathroom and THEN seized or was sleeping. My neurologist didn't mention me being asleep though. Just today I saw a commercial talking about motrin and some tylenol products being recalled and associated with seizures and strokes AS WELL AS several posts regarding BC and stopping doing the same. I was wondering if anyone else had also taken Motrin by any chance? Also, has anyone ever had just ONE solidary grand mal incident because my neurologist has yet to mention having a seizure disorder to me but wants me on anitseizure meds for a full year. Plus, I've heard there are long term side effects to taking these meds as well as the fact that you have to carefully weign yourself off both of which make me hesitant to even take them. I guess I put that out there because if there is a chance that this was an isolated incident caused by my BC then I shouldn't have to take the anti-seizure right??

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I can't even begin to convey my personal beliefs about chemical artificial birth control and its harmful impact on the women in our society. This really isn't the place for such a discussion, but I'm glad that you've recognized this may well be a trigger for seizure activity.

It's well known that rises and falls in estrogen levels can and do come into play when it comes to seizures. Personally, I would be very wary of anyone who told me that it is "impossible" for chemical birth control to factor in.

Be safe,

Anna

"...Only God never changes." St. Theresa of Avila

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I know what you mean. My neurologist told me it was impossible, I walked out of his office, looked at my mom and told her I needed a new doctor. I've got an appointment with a new neurologist in June and I'll see what her outlook on this is.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I think your gut is right.  I had my first seizure when I was 16 and on my period.  I had another one a few months again while on my period.  I was on meds for a few years, then slowly weened myself off them.  Right now I have an progestrone IUD and haven't had any seizures of six years (I'm on my second IUD).  I also didn't have any seizures while on Norplant 15 years ago.  However, between the Norplant and the IUD, I had two more seizures, both while on my period.  I swear to God, I think the progestrone in the IUD works for me, or else I grew out of the seizures.  One more thing, while on Norplant, and then the progestrone IUD, I barely, if ever menstrated.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I'm 28 years old. I've also only had a couple seizures in my life (only 2 just last year out of nowhere) and I was on ortho tri-cylen lo also.  I also have had hormone abnormalities of some sort for many years...my cycle is always irregular and I had really bad cramps.  I also have cystic ovaries.  Anyways, I began considering the connection between my hormones and seizures as doctors couldn't find any reason for the seizures and I have no family history.  I'm currently reading a pretty good book about hormones called "It's my Ovaries, Stupid!" by Elizabeth Lee Vliet, MD.  It's not specific to epilepsy but it does give you avenues on how to get your concerns regarding hormones heard by MDs and their connection to the brain   It also gives adivce regarding which MDs will have the most expertise regarding this.  One article I read suggested seeing a neuroendocrinologist. There are tests that can measure ovarian hormones at different times in the cycle but most docs think it's unnecessary or don't have knowledge on the subject.  It seems hormones are mostly looked at in relation to fertility.   Also, on the epilepsy.com website there are articles regarding hormones and epilepsy.  I found some by typing in "seizures and hormones" in google.  I'm seeing a new neurologist in April and I'm going to breach the subject so we'll see what response I get.  Anyone have advice on talking to the doctor about this?

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

My now 19 year old daughter, began taking Loestrin at 17 for severe/excessive bleeding during her period and migrain headaches.  After approximately one year on Loesterin her doctor changed her prescription to Yaz.  After 2/3 months of taking Yaz, my daughter ended up in the emergency room after suffering from what was referred to us as a benign rolandic epilepsy attack.  Apparently, after falling asleep on the couch at a friends house she began seizing and her college friends immediately contacted the paramedics.  An MRI confirmed no vascular involvement but the EEG indicated seizures during sleep.  As you might have expected she was prescribed medication (Keppra) and sent home.  The neurologist indicated to us that my daughter was the 4th patient from her university that week suffering the exact same symptoms.  The physician further explained that she believed stress was the catalyst behind the attack.  Well, needless to say, we were not comfortable with the explanation.  Our family has no genetic history of epilepsy, my daughter is a girl (obviously) which does not fit the profile since the majority of BRE's are male and she has otherwise been a totally healthy, calm child.  After some research and brainstorming, we realized that she more than likely had other episodes but went unnoticed because she only has them during sleep.  We believe the seizures began when she began hormone therapy (birth control).  She routinely takes Iibuprofin for headaches.  Information from the manufacturer as well as the FDA indicate that medications such as Advil and Aleve should NOT be taken with these meds.  Potassium levels rise to dangerous levels causing a plethera of additional complications.  Unfortunately, we were not warned of this adverse reaction from her OBGYN.  Also beware of Benedryl (diphenhydramine) which also increases the frequency of seizures or even causes first time seizures.  Furthermore,  Epilepsy.com states that women who have epilepsy report an increase in seizures around the time of their monthly cycle which my daughter does not do.  Likely, hormones cause changes in frquency.  Nerve cells are directly affected by estrogen and progesterone.  Particularly disturbing, are studies involving animals which show that high doses of estrogen can cause or worsen seizures.  For now, we have elected to pitch out all birth control hormones, eliminate Ibuprofin and hold off on the Keppra until we have additional information/testing done. After many hours on the internet and talking to others it is clear we are not alone.  It has been two days since my daughters episode and already we are aware of 6 girls (all on birth control) suffering the same symptoms.  Check out www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/69479.php and http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002294.html . These studies from Northwestern University and Wisconsin's Department of Neurology validate the hypothesis that birth control may/can contribute to epilepsy.   Good Luck!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Thank you for the post and information...my 16 year old daughter had her first seizure 1 week ago, with not ever having one before now and no family history of seizures.  She is experiences general Tonic - loses conciesness and has mutiple (15-20 secs) tonic (stiffening of all her muscles, arched back,etc..) seizures.  They prescribed Keppra, and just keep increasing the dosage....she is now taking 1000mg -  yesterday, following 3 days of no seizures , she had 7.  She has been in and out of the ER and has been admitted for observation and a 24 hr video EEG - all with normal results.  The ONLY thing is diffrent is that she began taking Microgestin FE1/20 on July 1st (about 1 & 1/2 months ago).  From what I can tell Loestrin is the same drug...re-named?  I have mentioned this to 3 ER docs, 2 PICU docs, and her Nuero...all of which seemed to dismiss my thoughts. 

Can you please contact me with the sources of the infomration for the animal testing results?

Thanks.... 

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Whatever is going on, changing hormones have everything to do with seizures.  After my gyno, a good friend of my mother's, found out about my most recent grand mal (all of which have been on my period), he put me on birth control (femcon) but prescribed me to skip the inert pills in order to skip my period and even out my hormones on a constant basis.  My husband and I had planned on having our second child soon, but until both my gyno and neuro agree that my epilepsy is under control, they will not approve such a hormonal upheaval.  Once we do have our second child, we plan on a tougher form of BC to take away my period, thus taking away the target zone for my seizures.  Everyone is different.  For me BC is essential, for others, the opposite.

JME - Diagnosed in 2000

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Ladies!  Be your own best friend. If you believe your birth control is contributing to your seizures, GET OFF OF IT.  All of these experiences cannot be a coincidence. 

We are still trying to find a neurologist who is willing to look at the cause of the seizure in lieu of treating the symptoms in the Chicago area.  Some look very promising.

Also, when I contacted the FDA they indicated that no one has reported any adverse reactions as they relate to birth control and seizures.  You can help many other young women by reporting your experiences to the FDA at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/how.htm.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Hi...I have epilepsy but have never been on birth control, however I know someone that started having seizures about 2 months after taking the pill (don't know exactly what she was taking) She no longer takes BC pills, but her seizures have not stopped.  She has been to the top hospitals in the state (Duke Medical and Chapel Hill) but she doesn't know anything more today than she did when she first started taking BC...I would say based on her experience, that yes it can be a problem for some people...It wouldn't be the first med to cause people to have seizures.  If you listen closely to some of the perscription med commercials some of them list seizures as a side effect. So I don't see why BC would be any different. I think that everyone reacts differently to medications and that means doctors shouldnt ever rule anything out as a possibility just because it isn't in a medical textbook. So there is my 2 cents hehe

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Hi - I don't know if they can be "caused" by being on birth control, but mine all started after I stopped birth control (I'd been on it from age 14 until age 40 - I stopped it, then after a few months started it again, and then stopped it again.  And after that, for the first time in my life, I started having full-blown seizures.  I'd had what were apparently complex partial seizures - TLE's - since 2 yrs before that, but never thought much of them since I thought they were related to spiritual/mystical experiences I was having, and didn't think they had much to do with anything medical, plus I never got dizzy or lost consciousness.  But after stopping the pill and my hormones getting so crazy, the complex partial seizures seguewayed into generalized seizures that landed me in the hospital, flipped me out of bed, etc.  Now I'm back on the pill plus taking meds (Trileptal) and now instead of having full blown generalized seizures every month or so, they are down to maybe every 5-6 months, which I can live with!  I think the issue is that hormonal fluctuations can be a cause, I believe that is what they call catamineal (sp?) seizures. 

I think there are different ways of looking at seizures and finding the right neurologist is so critical.  One neurologist just wanted me to take the meds and that was it, but another thought it made much more sense to get back on the pill to regulate my hormones, plus take the meds.  Once I did that, that is when the attacks were much less frequent.

Not sure if that really answers your question, but perhaps sheds light on one aspect of it!  :)

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

WOW!

I thought I was going crazy! My doctor has told me that coming off my pill, had nothing to do with my epilepsy, though my husband and I are starting to wonder if it does. I am too scared to go back on the pill, not knowing if it will have another adverse reaction to meds etc.

Also. We are wanting to have a family eventually, and obviously being on birth control would put a damper on that.

But at the moment, I am deseperate, and if neuro or doc told me that taking hormones etc would help I WOULD DO IT IN A HEARTBEAT. I can't cope with this in the interim.

Interesting to see that there ARE others out there that are having the same experiences. I can't actually find a lot of info out there that supports withdrawal of pill and epilepsy.???

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I had my first grand mal at the age of 24 during my first menstrual cycle after STOPPING the pill (I had been taking it for close to10 years prior to that).  I thought it was a strange coincidence, but none of my neurologists thought anything of it.  My EEG was abnormal so they started me on Keppra.  I am quite pleased about that because I had been suffering from horrendous headaches for a month leading up to the seizure, and the Keppra took care of the headaches within a day or two after starting.  I've always wondered if it was stopping the birth control that did it...anyone else that experienced a seizure after stopping birth control continue to experience them?

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Hi belc0011 - see my post that came right before yours.  I think we have something in common in terms of stopping the birth control and then the big seizures starting after that.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Ahh, yes it seems we do!  My neurologists all dismissed it.  So you controlled the seizures by going back on the pill rather than starting on an AED?

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I am on AED's (Trileptal) and on the bc pill.  My 1st neurologist just wanted me on the AED's, but a second one ( who I think has more common sense ) wanted me to be on both.  Before I went to the second neurologist, I was having complex partials that seguewayed into generalized tonic clonic seizures every month or two, but now it's every 5 or 6 months.  I always have mine around my period, so mine are cateminial (sp?) seizures. 

 

Apart from the hormonal aspect, some BIG triggers for me are lack of sleep, not eating enough, and stress. I sleep at least 8 hrs every night, I try to make a point of eating as soon as I feel hungry, and not letting that dazed kind of hunger feeling last for too long, as it can go right into a complex partial that could go full-blown tonic clonic.  And stress is a biggie, trying to not let things get to me too much.  I hear a lot of people mention lack of sleep and stress as triggers, but I haven't heard people mention not eating enough, which could possibly mean low blood sugar. 

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Don't worry about what comes of your tests as I've been on Keppra too and nothing came of it so I got taken of it! Keepra is for refractory epileptics like me so don't take it unless it will cater for your type of epilepsy not just your headaches!!! Thats why they invented ASPRIN!!!!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

i am 27 and started having seizures last year only in my sleep, after i had stopped my birth control. i have never had a seizure while i was awake, they are grand mal seizures and wake my husband up everytime. i had been on birth control for 5 yrs and quit because we decided to have another baby. i chose not to take any of the anti convulsants because of the risks for the baby and have still not taken them because it was important to me to breastfeed for at least 6 months and the medicine can pass through the milk. we had a perfectly healthy baby girl who is about to turn 6 months so i am debating whether or not to take the meds or not. there is no pattern to my seizures i can go 3 months without one and then have 3 in a week. i am hoping that if i were to start my birth control back up that maybe it would stop the seizures but my neurologist acts like its a ridiculous thought, but he also can never seem to remember that they only happen in my sleep or my name. has anyone had luck with stopping the seizures just from starting back on the pill? also has anyone else heard of people only having seizures in their sleep?

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Hi pagem.  Yes, I only have seizures in my sleep and I've never heard of anyone else who does.  My experience seems very similar to yours; maybe we should talk?

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Oh my god, you have no idea how big of relief it is to me to just now find this!

I'm 23 years old, and I have seizures only in my sleep.

I have never had seizures in my life. My obgyn put me on Yaz. I took Yaz ONCE and that night I had the strangest and most painful migraine I've ever experienced, and immediately stopped taking it. Not long after, I started having seizures at night. I've been so scared over this, and have just today made an appointment with my doctor. Seeing this page I feel so much better, because I bet it's been the pill that has caused my problems. After I find more out, I'll post up more about this issue. 

I can't believe that taking one pill one time may have possibly caused these issues for me!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I also only have seizures in my sleep. My Neurologist says he has never seen anyone like me before, nor have I ever met anyone like myself. So, i guess we're not alone :)

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

When I was 16, I was put onto Ortho- lo because of irregularity in my cycles.  3 months later, I became very ill, only to be diagnosed with having petit-mal epilepsy 7 months later.  My mother and I asked the doctors whether the pill could have had an impact on this because I was a healthy teenager and nothing was adding up.  One of my doctors told us that this could have increased the seizure activity, but it didn't start them.  They speculated that I had been having staring spells my entire life and finally the stress of junior year finals pushed my body over the edge.  Yet even now in college, my OBGYN tries to put me onto birth control.  It makes me sicker every time.  Something doesn't add up, and we've tried a variety of them, as well as all of the cocktails of seizure medications possible.  Therefore, I'm done until after college and don't have to stress even more.  There's so many factors that play in to what can cause a seizure, as I've learned the hard way (stress, cycles, diet, exercise, SLEEP- the biggest one).  But we honestly think, as do some of my doctors, that the trigger was the BC pill.  I hope this helps!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

unbelievable, I was thinking I was crazy..........last may i started taking YAZ in june I had a grand mall seizure and have had 150 or more since ,3 weeks ago I came off the yaz and got the IUD havent had one since, weird ? I thought so, my husband said it must be the birth control, and I am thinking he was right!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Hi, my name is Melissa. I had to use my mom's log in info. What is IUD? I am taking Sprintec for BC. I have seziures right before I get my period and during. :( So a nurse told me that my BC can have to much Estrogen.?

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

hi guys,

well ive been E since I was 13 im 37 now and all my nuerologists have told me that birth control atleast the "pill" interacts with the meds of E the only thing he slightly suggested was the ring so now for me I use the ring and the guy takes care of himself

I hope this works or helps

`Christina Vargas

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I took the mini pill for 5 years. Then came off it to have a baby.

 I had my first grand mal seizure at the age of 26 during my pregnancy = hormones.  I had 2 grand mal seizures during my pregnancy, and 1 after my baby was born after I had tried to wean off the medication 'Lactimal'.

 I now get 'partial seizures' before I ovulate and before I come on my period.  I went back on the mini pill to see if it helped to stop the epilepsy. 

 I take 'Lactimal' and 'Lyrica' and still get the partial seizures.  

 Just wanted to say that my seizures are completely hormone related and this has been confirmed by my specialist nurse.  

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

OMG, this is big. I have pcos and was prescribed an estrogen based bithcontrol pill.That night I was up for a while with myclonic jerks. I never have seizures at night. I am mad at myself for not being properly educating before taking the pill. Mostly I'm mad at the Dr. Now I lknow that progestin based BC are best for people with E. How he didn't know that is baffling.I'm glad that atleast someone in the medical field acknowledges the connection.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I was on the pill for a few months in 2007 before I saw one of the medications had in it a medication I'm not to go anywhere near for it will only make my epilepsy worse and that was 'Phenolanolin'. If anyone is taking the medication Dilantin the medical name is 'phenytoin' don't go anywhere near 'phenolanolin' as it can cause major seizures mixing with all your other meds so make sure you check it over with your doctor or pharmacist. If your doctor puts you on any birth contol pill make sure that you know whats in it first otherwise it could kill either or both you and your baby!!!!

Keep your eyes open!!!!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

As soon as BC got out of my system my petit mals went down from 10 a month to 4 or less a month.  Added a new med with the others I was taking and they got under control now for four years.  I started taking BC when I was 19.  Had my first petit mal when I was 22.  Now i'm 37 with freedom finally. 

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

birth control can lower medication levels so monitor your levels and talk to your neurologist.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I am so glad I decided to google seizures & the pill. I recently had a seizure and have felt depressed/frustrated and scared sense. It's a big relief to hear people's stories, atleast until I go to the doctor Monday. Thanks for sharing!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I know this is an old thread, but I read through the comments and it was only briefly touched on at the end...and I think it's important women know this.

If you take a BC with enough estrogen in it to lower your sz threshold, or otherwise change your hormones, it maybe enough to induce a sz. Estrogen is a trigger. Progesterone protects you. Take BC with progesterone and you can help yourself if you have catamenial E, especially if it's refractory in many cases to drugs. Too many cases though, doctors give women BC with estrogen because they don't know what the effects are to a woman with E. I know, they have tried to give them to me. So, it stands that a BC could act as a trigger only when the person is taking it. I am surprised a nuero would say no, but then again I have discovered that not alot of research is being done into catamenial E. to begin with and alot of nueros don't really understand it.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

The same thing happened to me. The gyno told me there was no way that the BC caused my 2 seizures...but that was the only thing that had changed and i just know it was...I'm not a DR, nor do i claim to be, but sometimes i just wish they would listen to me...I know MY body a little bit!

Kimi

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I'm 19 and started taking BC (Ortho Evra Patch) when I was about 16 and used it for about a year. I had 6 seizures while using the patch. My first thought was epilepsy so i went to a DR. who scanned me and told me, "There is nothing wrong with you". He never thought it was my BC or recommended i stopped taking it. My last episode I decided to stop using the patch and havent had a seizure since so it definitetly was the problem. I'm just curious about my other options for BC. Why did this happen? What triggered it? How can i be safe from pregnancy and the humiliation? please help!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

The same thing happened to me!! I started the pill in march of 07 and in July I had my first gramal seizure and have had several since, once in february of 08 I almost died. My whole family thought it was the birth control but all the doctors said it could be and it wasn't a known side affect.. obviously it is if this many girl have this issue.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Is there anyone out there who has had their hormone levels tested after coming OFF the pill? Also, any of the women who have had epilepsy flare up after coming off the pill, tried hormone creams? or treatments? Has there been any success???

Searching deseprately for relief and answers. Seems my symptoms are getting worse by the day.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I have had similar situations! I had my first seizure 5yrs ago before I was on birth control, I then started Nuvaring and I went 4yrs on birth control and with out any seizure medication and i didnt not have ANY seizures or any feeling or ora like i was going to have one! I then took myself off birth control and with in 2weeks of being off i had my first seizure,I was off the Nuvaring for a year and i had 5 seizures in a year. Then i started to get acne, extremely emotional and i started to gain weight. I went to a my doctor and all my hormones where out of wack(which is why i was feeling that way) so i automatically put my self back on birth control and have felt like a million bucks ever since. i didnt even think of putting the two together until recently when i realized that everything in my life is coming back to normal, meaning that i started to feel so much better!!!My neurologist said that the birth control and hormen levels could POSSIBLY not definetly have something to trigger it!

So until i decide to have children i am going to keep myself on birth control! my only concern is when i am ready to have children, whats going to happen when i take my self off birth control will i have seizures again! will it effect my having children! oo i was having the seizures off the birth control and on the seizure medication!!!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Yes!

I took birth control for 9 years (between ages 15 and 23.) I had never experienced a seizure and I have no family history of Epilepsy.

I had my first tonic-clonic seizure 3 MONTHS after getting off birth control. Considering I had no family history, I thought the birth control was the obvious cause. However, the doctor I had at the time disagreed and insisted that my E was hereditary. He told me that the only reason I had my first seizure after getting off the pill, was because my body was returning to its natural hormonal level. Basically, that the pill had kept my E under control and I didn't even know it. (I was on progesterone.) All my seizures occurred 1 - 5 days prior to my period, so the pill regulating my hormones had prevented me from having seizures.

I got off the pill because I would forget to take it on time and would use condoms to prevent the possibility of getting pregnant, so I figured what's the point in spending the money on it. I totally regret making that decision, especially because I fear now that getting back on birth control would cause me to have seizures again. I've been seizure-free for 2 years now and I really want to keep it that way. But I plan on discussing birth control with both my neuro and gyno soon, even though I'm still apprehensive about the whole thing.

I currently take 450 mg of Lamictal daily; brand necessary. Generic prescriptions can come from different manufacturers, and the most minute differences in dosages that result from buying from different manufacturers, can lead to seizures in some people. So, my doctor chose to avoid that possibility, and writes on all my Rx's "Brand Necessary". That way my insurance will cover the ridiculous cost of the pills.

So, in my case, it wasn't that coming off birth control caused my E, it just revealed it. Which sucks.

I haven't tried any creams or treatments other than taking my Lamictal, and for a little while, taking Keppra. I plan to ask about taking progesterone, since several women have noted that taking estrogen brought on more seizures.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I'm very relieved to know that I'm not the only person who has gone through this. I was put on BC when I was 18 along with some vitamins and such. I thought I was doing fine on it, but it made me tired and my mom and friends noticed that for the month I was on it, I was pretty zombie-like. I finished the first month and felt a lot better and more like my self for the week I was off it between months. I started the second month, and the morning of my second day I woke up and as I was getting breakfast I had a seizure. I didn't go to the hospital, partly because when I had recovered and moved to the couch I didn't really feel like getting up or going anywhere. My mom took me off the BC and I haven't had a problem since. I tried to talk to my doctors about it and they didn't believe me about it, attributing it to other problems I've never had any symptoms of, and neither did my friends doctors when she went on BC recently and expressed concern about it happening to her. The only thing different in my life when I had the seizure was my BC, and I haven't had anything close to another episode since. So, I think doctors really need to get up on this stuff because obviously it's happening, whether it's attributed as a side effect or not.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

can anyone who has had this happen to them tell me are you smokers or were when u took your pills? my sister in law has seizures just out of the blue. now after running into this blog think it is attributed to her tricyclen, she is going to switch to another but i also read about how progestron is better and less risks then the estrogen sister version. coincidentally i ran into the fact the progestron products are more safe for smokers and that smoking while on estrogen products causes all sorts of clotting and stroke issues. so i wondered how many of u are smokers taking a estrogen pill. im trying to see if it is connected. thanks

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

When I first started my epilepsy medication soon after being diagnosed, I smoked occasionally. I was urged strongly by both my neuro & gyno to stop as they sound it would complicate things more for me in both ways. I don't know much about whether or not it can directly affect BC & seizures but I do know a little about the hormonal influences in epilepsy. I have been working for a year or so to try and figure out the best regimen & tried both estrogen based BC & progesterone therapy. It is true that estrogen has seizure aggrivation properties while progesterone tends to help suppress them. When I was on my BC I found that I had seizures more frequently, especially right before my period. This was opposite from my progesterone therapy because when taking it during my CD 14-28 (the week before my period) I found that made everything better. When I take my progesterone at night, I sleep without seizure activity. I tend to have seizures mostly at night & I felt such relief when taking my progesterone.

The only thing I will say is that you have to work with your doctors together (neuro & gyno) to try and figure out the best dosage for you. Progesterone can help hinder seizures but on the flip side, when your body is withdrawing from the progesterone you can have seizure activity. There are different ways to take progesterone as well as progesterone based BC & you may be able to take a different dosage of progesterone that gradually weans you off of it instead of cuts you off cold turkey during your AF cycle.

I hope that makes sense & helps you some!!

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I was sixteen when I began birth control. I was a good girl, and my parents did not know I was on birth control. I became like a zombie, sleeping thru school, my grades slipped, and I struggled to keep up. I was drinking and smoking occasionally with my older boyfriend (now my hubby and great dad of 3!)
I stopped birth control and began having aura's, which I called "Deja vue things" for a few years. I became pregnant with my son, and never felt better! (progesterone) Before that I was fortunate enough to have some great education about hormone imbalances, and progesterone supplements. After my son weaned, and my period commenced, it was time to go back to work. After a year of sleep deprivation, a long day without eating enough, and major stress I had my first tonic clonic seizure January of 2002. The lovely neuro said that I would not be allowed to drive, should not bathe my baby, and gave me a prescription which he said I would likely need the rest of my life. After a few similar neurologists, I was termed a difficult, but pleasant, patient, and found a neuro who would listen. I reacted to topamax, and tegretol, (my 2nd neuro said it was me causing the reactions) I finally was put on frisium (clobazam) and it seemed to help, although I was very frustrated with the side effects. Neurologists threatened taking my babies after I insisted AED were worse than seizures. After much education, I realized the dragon I was now wed to. It has been a long seven years, and I am still on clobazam. My refractory aura's happen on ovulation day, and sometimes first day of period. I tried to wean off the meds, but the withdrawal was too much. My current neuro says the meds can't cause seizure's, while the meds themselves say that w/drawal symptoms are seizures and anxiety. I want off my medication. Acupuncture helps a lot, and I am now trying "Vitex" which is a hormone balancing herbal tincture. I feel very strongly ( as does my husband and mother) that birth control was the cause of my seizure disorder. I so wish that there was a support, neurologist/endocrinologist therapy available. I really value all of the stories here, and am sorry that others have experienced what I have. I do not want to be addicted to an AED. Of course we know that when a big seizure hits, I would do anything to prevent another. I have three beautiful healthy children, and I want get to the bottom of this. I plan to move to the UBC neurosciences clinic , does anyone have any experience there. I will also ask to consult an endocrinologist. The other thing I will do is commence a progesterone friendly diet. Avoid birth control, alcohol, cigarettes, soy, red meat, and any other extremely processed food. Excercise ( I have been running) and BREATHE. Try biofeedback, acupuncture, and consult a naturopath. They could be your gateway to relief. All synthetic hormones will play with your seizure threshold. This has been a lot of work, but I am determined to experience life without seizures, and with out meds. Blessings to you all.

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

I guess your neuro doesn't read the literature. As some others have said, estrogen can provoke seizure activity, and progesterone can inhibit it, and most BC is estrogen-based.

My neuro does research on women and epilepsy and he told me this, and to take depoprovera because it is progestin-based. I never took the others, so I can't tell you any effects of those personally, but on depo I was totally fine.

If you want to look at the research, here are a few studies from PubMed:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21134499

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21124696

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19587632

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18178110

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16766231

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21451944

Re: Can seizures be caused by birth control?

Yes it causes seizures, and AEDs can render 'the pill' innefective.  I got pregnant while on it.  I switched to a stronger dose, which caused more seizures.   I had to stop taking the pill to help control my seizures.