Frequency of menstrual abnormalities and their associated neuroimaging findings in women with focal refractory epilepsy


Patients with refractory epilepsy can suffer from psychological and physical problems. Epilepsy can also be associated with menstruation abnormalities in women. In this paper, we aim to survey women with focal refractory epilepsy who also suffer from menstrual abnormalities. This cross-sectional study was performed in 2018 in Tertiary Epilepsy Center in Kashani Hospital, Isfahan, Iran and Milad hospital, Isfahan, Iran. A total number of 381 patients diagnosed with refractory epilepsy joined the study based on an inclusion and exclusion criteria. Clinical characteristics of epilepsy, menstrual issues and brain MRI findings were assessed. Among 381 women with refractory epilepsy, 250 had refractory focal epilepsy (65.61%), and the others (34.39%) had generalized refractory epilepsy. 132 patients out of 381 had menstrual abnormalities (34.65%). Among 132 women with coexisting refractory epilepsy and menstrual abnormalities, 86 (65.15%) were diagnosed with refractory focal epilepsy, and 46 (34.86%) had generalized refractory epilepsy (p value = 0.041). Oligomenorrhea–hypomenorrhea was the most common type of menstrual abnormality in women with refractory epilepsy seen in 83 (62.87%) (p value = 0.039). The most common brain MRI pathology in women with refractory focal epilepsy was mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) (39.20%, p = 0.00). We report that almost one-third of women with refractory epilepsy suffer from menstrual disorders, and the most common disorder was Oligomenorrhea–hypomenorrhea, and the most common brain pathology was MTS. It has also been a hypothesis that reproductive dysfunctions are connected to temporal lobe malfunctions, and more specific studies are required in this issue.

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Correspondence to Seyed Navid Naghibi.

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Ranjbar, M., Mehvari Habibabadi, J., Poorazarian, F. et al. Frequency of menstrual abnormalities and their associated neuroimaging findings in women with focal refractory epilepsy. Acta Neurol Belg (2020).

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  • Menstrual disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Oligomenorrhea
  • Hypomenorrhea
  • Refractory epilepsy