Fertility

Women with epilepsy have a somewhat higher rate of infertility than women in the general population. This slight increase in infertility is likely due to both antiepileptic drugs and irregular menstrual cycles. Also, the epilepsy itself might be associated with reduced fertility. For instance, many women with temporal lobe epilepsy have reproductive dysfunction, perhaps due to the complex interactions between the temporal lobes and hormonal centers in the brain.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Some women with epilepsy have another syndrome associated with decreased fertility—polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is characterized by elevated testosterone levels in the blood as well as several of the following: multiple ovarian cysts, menstrual disorders, hirsutism (increased facial and body hair), obesity, acne, elevated insulin levels and high blood pressure. Considerable evidence suggests this syndrome is more common in women taking valproic acid (Depakote), although some scientists think certain types of epilepsy may also be associated with PCOS, regardless of the medication(s) used to treat it.