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Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Nov;26(11):783-90. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2010.490606.

Catamenial epilepsy: hormonal aspects.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.


The term catamenial epilepsy is used to describe the cyclical occurrence of seizure exacerbations during particular phases of menstrual cycle in women with preexisting epilepsy. Recent investigations have demonstrated the existence of at least three patterns of catamenial seizure exacerbation: perimenstrual and periovulatory in ovulatory cycle and entire luteal phase in anovulatory cycle. Cyclical changes in the circulating levels of estrogens (proconvulsant) and progesterone (anticonvulsant) play a central role in the development of catamenial epilepsy. Also, variations in concentrations of antiepileptic drugs across the menstrual cycle may contribute to increased seizure susceptibility. A variety of approaches have been proposed for the treatment of catamenial epilepsy.

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