Seizure Triggers | Boston Medical Center
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Seizure Triggers

People with epilepsy are more likely to have a seizure when they are ill, sleep deprived, or have consumed alcohol.

Photosensitive Epilepsy

For some, seizures are triggered by flashing or flickering lights. During an EEG, a strobe light is activated; this may provide clues about photosensitive seizures. Sometimes, special colored filters are placed over the strobe to determine if tinted sunglasses are protective against seizures. If your child has photosensitive epilepsy, ask your child’s physician about sunglasses or special contact lenses designed to block out light. A hat with a visor may also be helpful.

Certain settings are more likely to trigger seizures for persons who are photosensitive, such as:

  • driving in the car
  • looking at the sun reflecting off the water
  • strobe lights
  • computers, video games, or possibly the television

Catamenial Epilepsy

Seizures can also be triggered by the hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Some women may be prone to seizures during the few days before their period, the first few days of their period, the last half of their cycle, or mid-cycle at ovulation. It is important for all menstruating women with epilepsy to chart their seizures and periods on a calendar.