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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: November 2009

3 - The woman with epilepsy: a historical perspective

from Part I - The woman with epilepsy


This chapter reviews the medical history of epilepsy as it relates to women. It presents an extensive knowledge about epilepsy, its treatment, and a collection of related historical texts. The medical and social histories of epilepsy are filled with stories of wrong information and wrong action. Two surveys of the history of epilepsy show a strong male bias in the medical writings on the diagnosis, causation, and treatment of people with epilepsy from ancient to more recent times. Menarche, menstruation, and menopause have been associated with changes in epileptic seizure activity for centuries. During the twentieth century, women with epilepsy have benefited from greater understanding of epilepsy, major advances in diagnostic tools, awareness, and attempts to formulate individualized, safe approaches to special issues such as birth control, pregnancy, sexual function, and menopause.
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