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Epilepsy Behav. 2009 Jun;15 Suppl 1:S20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2009.03.022. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

Gender-specific psychosocial impact of living with epilepsy.

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Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, 101 Woodruff Circle, Suite 6000, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Although many psychosocial issues affect all people living with epilepsy, certain issues either are specific to one gender or have a different prevalence or significance between men and women with epilepsy. Most studies suggest that the incidence of epilepsy is slightly higher in males with epilepsy. Sexual dysfunction is common among men and women with epilepsy and has been related to epilepsy type and treatment. Women living with epilepsy are often prone to increased seizure frequency at certain phases of their menstrual cycles. Hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women may worsen seizures. Treatment during pregnancy is often a precarious balancing act between the teratogenic risks of AEDs and the maintenance of maternal seizure control. However, pregnancy registries and other prospective studies have given us invaluable information on how to optimize treatment regimens as well as information about safety of breastfeeding. These gender-specific factors should be a key consideration when counseling and treating patients with epilepsy.

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