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Menopause and epilepsy

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Menopause and epilepsy

The menopause is when a woman's periods stop and she can no longer become pregnant.

During the menopause, a woman’s body stops making natural hormones and this can cause symptoms such as hot flushes and mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is sometimes used to treat these symptoms. 

HRT contains either oestrogen or a combination of oestrogen and progestogen. Although oestrogen is known to have a pro-convulsant (seizure causing) effect for some women, the amount of oestrogen prescribed in HRT is usually matched to the amount of oestrogen in your body before the menopause. So it is usually not enough to cause seizures to happen. However, if you take HRT and you do have more seizures than usual, this could be related to the oestrogen in HRT.

If this happens it might be helpful to discuss the HRT with your neurologist to consider any possible alternatives or different combinations of oestrogen and progestogen.

Having information and regular medical reviews with your neurologist or GP can be important during the menopause. This is an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have.

Further information

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. 
Guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.

Epilepsy Society is grateful to Dr F J Rugg-Gunn, Consultant Neurologist & Honorary Associate Professor Clinical Lead, Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy, who reviewed this information.

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Sodium valproate - are you receiving the right information?

Our sodium valproate survey showed us that almost 70% of the women surveyed haven't received new safety warnings about the dangers of taking it during pregnancy. 

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Information updated: September 2023


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