Epilepsy and the ovary (cutting out the hysteria)
Tim Betts, Nicola Dutton, Helen Yarrow
p 220-228, Volume 10, Number 3, April 2001
This review touches on the historical links between epilepsy, seizures and the uterus and ovaries which have fascinated and misled physicians since Greco-Roman times. It then examines present knowledge of ovarian function and its effect on epileptic activity and vice versa before exploring the modern controversy about polycystic ovaries and the polycystic ovary syndrome, epilepsy and anticonvulsant medication. Based on present evidence, women with epilepsy are more prone to develop polycystic (polyfollicular) ovaries than other women due to the epilepsy itself. But women with epilepsy related polycystic (polyfollicular) ovaries are vulnerable to the effects of sodium valproate (possibly particularly during adolescence) and may develop the polycystic ovary syndrome: this is reversible if the valproate is withdrawn. Lamotrigine and carbamazepine seem to prevent the development of the syndrome. Copyright 2001 BEA Trading Ltd.