Even though epilepsy affects men and women equally, there are special reproductive and general health concerns for women, especially in the child-bearing age.
Women with epilepsy experience changes in seizure frequency and severity with changes of reproductive cycles at puberty, over the menstrual cycle, with pregnancy and at menopause.
Contraception for epilepsy patients is challenging because many medications interact with anti-seizure medication. Many doctors recommend non-hormonal birth control methods which include condoms, diaphragm and inter-uterine devices because they are not affected by anti-epileptic medications.
Women with epilepsy also have lower fertility rates due to the use of anti-epileptic drugs and irregular menstrual cycles. They are more likely to suffer from polycystic ovaries syndrome, menstrual disorders, sexual dysfunction, hirsutism (increased facial or body hair), obesity, acne, elevated insulin and high blood pressure.