Department of Neurology

Abdominal pain and epilepsy

Q: Can some form or type of epilepsy cause intestinal and/or bowel function problems? Severe pain and loss of function control.


A: In most cases, abdominal pain should not result from epilepsy. There are some exceptions. Abdominal sensations are a common manifestation of seizure events, and are often reported during "auras." They are usually not painful, although may be on rare occasions. If due to seizures, these symptoms should not occur between seizures. A rare cause of both seizures and abdominal pain is an illness called acute intermittent porphyria. This disease is caused by a genetic metabolic abnormality, and may be easily screened for by your neurologist. Interestingly, the medications usually used to treat seizures may exacerbate the problem. Gastrointestinal symptoms may also result from anticonvulsant medications. This would need to be reviewed by your physician; medications should not be adjusted or changed by patients. Abdominal pain may signal serious medical problems. You should make sure to review your symptoms with your physician.

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