Disorders of reproduction in patients with epilepsy: primary neurological mechanisms

Seizure. 2008 Mar;17(2):101-10. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2007.11.025. Epub 2007 Dec 31.


Reproductive disorders are unusually common among women and men with epilepsy. They are generally associated with and may be the consequence of reproductive endocrine disorders. Both epilepsy itself and antiepileptic drug use have been implicated in their pathophysiology. This review focuses on how temporolimbic dysfunction in epilepsy may disrupt normal neuroendocrine regulation and promote the development of reproductive endocrine disorders. The particular nature of the dysregulation may relate to the laterality and focality of the epilepsy and some hormonal changes may develop in close temporal relation to the occurrence of epileptiform discharges. In women, reproductive endocrine disorders include polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothalamic amenorrhea, functional hyperprolactinemia, and premature menopause. In men, hypogonadism may be hypogonadotropic, hypergonadotropic or related to hyperprolactinemia. The significance of these reproductive endocrine disorders is that they may contribute not only to sexual dysfunction and infertility but may also have an adverse impact on seizure control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endocrine System Diseases / etiology*
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility / complications
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*