Testosterone and Epilepsy
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
If you are a man with epilepsy, you may be wondering if there is a connection between low levels of progesterone, estrogen, or testosterone. If so, you can learn about possible Treatments for men with epilepsy with reduced testosterone levels.
Seizure frequency in relation to testosterone levels
The present study evaluated the relationship between serum testosterone levels and seizure frequency in a patient with epilepsy. He was admitted for long-term EEG monitoring. One week before admission, he had stopped testosterone therapy.
He continued a home regimen of AEDs and immunosuppression. Prior to admission, he had never had a seizure. Seizure frequency decreased dramatically following testosterone infusion. Serum testosterone levels increased significantly with a reduction in seizure frequency.
Although the relationship between testosterone and seizures has been known for over a century, new knowledge has led to more concrete explanations of how the hormones affect seizures.
Current ideas about the relationship between reproductive hormones and seizure frequency focus on the estrogen, progesterone, and the menstrual cycle. Although these studies are not conclusive, they do show a relationship. This new understanding provides us with a new perspective on the treatment of epilepsy.
The relationship between the gonads and brain has been difficult to unravel. Many of us aren't aware of the exact mechanism of action of each of these hormones. Nonetheless, studies of men with epilepsy have revealed a strong relationship between testosterone and seizures.
Despite this, it is unclear whether testosterone alone can cause epilepsy. However, these findings show that testosterone can influence seizure frequency in a non-autoimmune manner.
The study of a male patient with primary hypogonadism and testosterone levels in his blood have demonstrated a link between low levels of these hormones and the frequency of seizures in that patient.
The patient reported a significant reduction in seizure frequency and duration, and a marked improvement in sexual function. Interestingly, the patient's testosterone levels improved after testosterone treatment. He was previously experiencing between fifteen and twenty seizures per day.
Seizure frequency in relation to estrogen levels
The relationship between seizure frequency and estrogen levels and testosterone has been studied extensively, but there is no definitive answer yet. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that SE may be exacerbated by neurosteroid estrogen synthesis.
Acute administration of aromatase inhibitors may be effective for seizure control in SE. In addition, estrogen and testosterone are directly connected to epileptic seizures.
Hormonal cycling is important in the regulation of women's monthly menstrual cycles. Estrogen and testosterone affect the pituitary adrenocortical axis, which regulates the monthly menstrual cycle.
Hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormones are released in a pulsatile fashion and affect pituitary production of follicle-stimulating hormone. Estrogen is secreted by follicles, and the endometrial lining of the uterus responds to estradiol, which promotes endometrial proliferation and enhances implantation of fertilized ovum.
The degree of cell death was also related to seizure frequency. Seizure frequency increased by more than 30% in animals with severe seizures.
Although they did not have epileptic seizures, they had significantly lower levels of Fluoro-Jade B-positive cells in the CA3 region. Overall, the relationship between seizure frequency and estrogen levels and testosterone and epilepsy was pronounced.
There are some studies showing that higher testosterone levels are linked with a greater risk of developing epilepsy. A two-week phenytoin treatment is a good example of this.
It is known to increase the likelihood of seizures and lower the threshold for epilepsy. In addition, it has been found that elevated levels of testosterone can accelerate epileptogenesis in animal models.
Seizure frequency in relation to progesterone levels
The timing of menstruation is a significant predictor of seizure frequency in women with catamenial epilepsy. Seizures usually occur about three days before and three days after menstruation and coincide with the time when progesterone levels are low.
This period also coincides with a spike in estrogen during midcycle. In women with catamenial epilepsy, seizure frequency is most common during the perimenstrual stage of menstruation.
One recent study examined seizure frequency in women with epilepsy. The researchers compared progesterone to placebo treatment for three months. Overall, women treated with progesterone experienced a significant reduction in seizure frequency compared to placebo.
The difference in seizure frequency was not statistically significant, however. The most common types of seizure, including complex partial seizures and secondary generalized motor seizures, were reduced by an average of 62% and 74%, respectively.
Another study focused on a different aspect of the relationship between progesterone and seizure frequency. In addition to the BDNF signaling that promotes the expression of genes in the brain, progesterone may also be a useful treatment for women with epilepsy.
However, progesterone may be more effective than estrogen in certain circumstances, and drugs that target the receptors of the GABAA subunit may help to relieve the symptoms of the condition.
The findings of this study show that women with epilepsy tend to have clustered seizures and their frequency is similar between treatment groups. In addition, seizures exhibited periodicity and were classified as catamenial epilepsy.
Studies have confirmed the existence of three distinct patterns of catamenial epilepsy and developed a mathematical model to categorize the seizures. In addition, the study identified three distinct periods of seizure exacerbation.
A significant number of women with epilepsy experience seizures during their menstrual periods. This is known as catamenial epilepsy and may affect up to 40% of women suffering from epilepsy.
Furthermore, seizures are most common on day one of the menstrual cycle, with the lowest frequency occurring on day twenty. A woman's menstrual cycle consists of two distinct phases - the follicular phase (days one to five) and the luteal phase, which lasts for 28 days.
Treatments for reduced testosterone levels in men with epilepsy
A professional healthcare provider must screen all epileptic men for reduced testosterone levels before recommending a treatment plan. The patient is expected to be evaluated monthly, and baseline information is collected for comparison.
Treatment with testosterone-replacement therapy has been effective in treating epileptic patients. Symptoms often resolve on their own with TRT, and some patients have achieved remission of epileptic symptoms.
To understand the relationship between reduced testosterone levels in men and epilepsy, you need to know about the mechanism of action of this hormone. Testosterone is a primary circulating androgen, producing rapid modulation of neuronal excitability.
It also exerts both pro and anticonvulsant effects. In intact animals, testosterone levels are 50% higher than those of castrated animals. Likewise, men with epilepsy exhibit higher rates of seizures than those of healthy women.
Reducing testosterone levels is associated with adverse effects on sexual function, erectile function, bone density, and energy. Low testosterone levels in men with epilepsy can lead to decreased testosterone and sexual dysfunction, and endocrine specialists can help patients sort out the interactions between hormones and their symptoms. Testosterone supplements have shown promise in improving testosterone levels in men with epilepsy.
In addition to lowering sex drive, reduced testosterone in men with epilepsy can result in lowered sperm counts. Some men with epilepsy worry that they might have a seizure during sex, but most men do not have seizures during sex. The condition may also lead to depression and low libido, which are also common symptoms of epilepsy.
Although the exact mechanism behind testosterone's effect on the brain is still unknown, it is well-known that testosterone affects the development of the sex organs in men. Its excitatory action in the brain is believed to be mediated by its conversion to estrogen via aromatase.
In a 61-year-old man, low testosterone also affected his sexual function. Letrozole, a testosterone-replacement medication, improved his sexual function and seizure control in this case. The patient experienced a brief seizure exacerbation upon withdrawal and improved his sexual function after restarting treatment.
Epilepsy-related hormones can influence men's testosterone levels, which is why antiepileptic drugs can have complex effects on men. Some men may experience decreased fertility or sexual dysfunction, and some people develop seizures as adolescents.
However, this is not always the case. Epilepsy specialists can help men cope with these problems. For this reason, it's important to consult with a qualified medical professional.