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Menstrual Cycle Affects Ovulation, Seizures in Epilepsy

Varied menstrual cycles associated with anovulation and greater seizure frequency

FRIDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Women with epilepsy are more likely to have anovulatory cycles than other women, and anovulation is more common with longer and shorter menstrual cycles, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego. What's more, seizure frequency is higher during anovulatory cycles, the researchers found.

Andrew Herzog, M.D., of the Harvard Neuroendocrine Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues studied menstrual cycle length, ovulation occurrence and seizure frequency in 100 women with epilepsy.

The researchers found that ovulatory rates ranged from 87 percent to 92 percent for 26- to 30-day cycles but decreased as intervals deviated from this range. For 23-day and 35-day cycles, they found that ovulatory rates were 39 percent and 33 percent, respectively. They also found that seizure frequency was 30 percent greater in women during anovulatory cycles compared to ovulatory cycles in the 32 women who had both types of cycles during the study.

"Ovulation rates are lower among women with epilepsy than in the general population," the authors state. "The findings lend support for an association between ovulation rates and cycle intervals in women with epilepsy and an association between anovulation and greater seizure frequency."

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