You have lots of options.
Some people with epilepsy avoid birth control because they’re afraid it won’t work for them. But, not using birth control can put you at risk for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. You can find a birth control method that works with your epilepsy medication and prevents pregnancy. You can also find birth control that has benefits besides preventing pregnancy.
Will birth control work with epilepsy medications?
Yes, if you use the right combination of medication.
There are two different types of birth control: non-hormonal and hormonal.
- Condoms and diaphragms are types of non-hormonal birth control. Epilepsy medications don’t affect non-hormonal methods.
- Birth control pills, the shot, and the ring are types of hormonal birth control. Some epilepsy medications can make certain types of hormonal birth control less effective at preventing pregnancy.
The Birth Control Options page gives a lot of information about your choices. It even shows how different birth control methods work with epilepsy medications. Because scientists still have a lot to learn about how birth control and epilepsy medications work together, it’s important to talk with your doctor. They can help you find the right combination of epilepsy medication and birth control for you.
If you want to learn more about how specific birth control methods and epilepsy medications work together, check out the Epilepsy Birth Control Registry.
can birth control impact seizures?
- If you use non-hormonal birth control (like condoms or IUDs), it will not affect your seizures.
- If you use hormonal birth control (like the pill or the ring), it’s hard to tell what impact it will have on your seizures. Some women say hormonal birth control increases their seizures, but other women find it decreases their seizures. Still other women say hormonal birth control doesn’t affect their seizures at all. It’s confusing, we know. There’s a lot left to learn about this issue.
Birth control can do that?
Hormonal birth control methods, like the pill, can do lots of things besides prevent pregnancy. The pill can reduce acne, help with painful periods, and help regulate periods. Some people even use the pill to help reduce seizures that occur around their periods. Talk to your doctor to find out more.
Finding the right birth control can take time.
You could find the right combination of birth control and epilepsy medications on your first try. Or, you might have to try a few different combinations before finding the right one. When you’re trying a new combination, watch for signs that your epilepsy medication isn’t working well. These signs include changes in the number, length, or kind of seizures you usually have. If this happens, take an extra dose of your medication and talk to your doctor.
Pregnant and not sure what to do?
If your birth control didn’t work and you’re pregnant, you have options. You will need to think through the pros and cons of abortion, adoption, and parenting.
If you’re not ready to have a child, abortion is an option. Abortion is safe, common, and legal. The National Abortion Federation can give you information about abortion, and help you find out where to get an abortion and how to pay for it.
If you would like to be a parent or want to consider adoption, talk to your doctor right away about ways to take care of your health for the rest of your pregnancy.
Not sure what you want to do?
- The Pregnancy Options Workbook is a great place to start thinking through your options.
- Backline, an online or telephone resource, can provide judgment free support in thinking through all of your options.
want more information about birth control?
I worry about how birth control pills and epilepsy medications will interact. I also do not want to be experiencing more side effects than I have to.
The pill didn’t make any difference for my seizures but it helped out my periods while I was young.
When I started taking birth control pills, it lowered the dosage of my epilepsy medicine and I had a seizure, which I hadn’t in almost a year, so I got off the birth control. I’m afraid to try birth control again.
Birth control pills help with my periods by making them lighter and it helps with my ovarian cysts.
I started birth control pills because my period wouldn’t stop after over a month of having it. It had something to do with the lining of my uterus, I think. They were also very painful. Now they are regular, and I’ve stayed on birth control pills because it cleared up my skin as well.