The impact of epilepsy surgery on sex hormones and the menstrual cycle in female patients

Seizure. 2000 Sep;9(6):389-93. doi: 10.1053/seiz.2000.0434.


We investigated the impact of temporal lobe epilepsy surgery on sex hormones and menstrual cycles. Sixteen female patients with temporal lobe epilepsy were investigated prior to surgery and 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery. The patients received carbamazepine (CBZ) as monotherapy (10 patients) or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs (six patients). Antiepileptic drugs were maintained after surgery. During the 1-year follow-up after surgery eight patients (50%) remained completely free of seizures. In another four patients (25%) only rare disabling seizures occurred. There were no significant differences between pre-surgical and post-surgical serum concentrations of testosterone, free testosterone, prolactin, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, growth hormone, cortisol and sex hormone binding globulin. There was, however, a significant increase in serum androstenedione concentration 6 months post-surgically (P < 0.02). Documentation of menstrual cycles in addition to laboratory parameters revealed individual post-surgical changes of the menstrual cycle in eight patients. Four patients had a change in menstrual periodicity: two patients with complete seizure control had regular cycles instead of oligomenorrhoea and two patients with incomplete seizure control had oligomenorrhoea instead of regular cycles. These data indicate that at least in some patients with temporal lobe epilepsy surgical treatment influences menstrual periodicity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androstenedione / blood
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / blood
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / blood*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Carbamazepine
  • Androstenedione