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Weird question: constipation causing seizures?


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#1 gretl

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 06:02 PM

... I can't find any resources to back it up.  I feel kinda dumb calling my daughter's neuro and asking, but that's my next step  ;)

//I would worry about grossing people out with this discussion, but seeing some of the threads around here, I know poop in all its glorious variations is a favorite topic//

So anyhow.  I keep a journal on my daughter's moods/seizures/physical symptoms/med changes/etc.  Since she manages her own bathroom affairs TYVM, constipation is one of those things I don't really notice until she starts leaking gas and/or fecal matter.  She has periodic problems because she withholds her BM when she's busy and doesn't want to be bothered with something yucky like that.  I have noticed over the years (and most recently, this past week) that she seems to have more seizures when she is plugged up for many days.  I know a lot of meds CAUSE constipation, but does it ever ... kind of ... work the other way around?  Something about reduced gastrointestinal motility reducing the metabolism/effectiveness of meds, perhaps?  She takes Trileptal and Topamax, FWIW.

She also is taking 5mg of Lexapro right now, and doing really well mood and anxiety-wise, so before we take it away (or increase the Topa again) because it's lowering her seizure threshold, I'd like to investigate this possibility.
<span style='color:green'>Gretchen, BP2; ex-computer-geek; wife to fellow nutjob; mother to two beautiful daughters: 9yo uberspazz and 5yo NT with a blessedly strong personality in her own right!</span>

<span style='color:purple'>What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?</span>
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#2 reddog

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 12:01 PM

i know dick about seizures, but thanks to a quadraplegic friend, i do know that constipation is not necessarily a benign condition.  it's landed her in the ER with dangerously high blood pressure spikes.

basically, the thing is that you have more than your central nervouc system in operation: you have the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems as well, which all work in concert with the CNS.  in my friends case, messages are being transmitted from the sym/parasym systems, but not meeting up with the corresponding and coordinating messages that would ordinarily travel via the CNS.  therefore, her brain gets confused because it's getting incomplete information, and does weird things to her body trying to resolve a problem that it can't fully recognize. 

if constipation can effect her nervous system, i would guess it can effect everyone's: we just don't see it because we have a fully functioning CNS to coordinate all the nerve signals and interpret them properly.

but your daughter? she's got seizures, therefore some part of her neural path/brain/whatever medical term you would like to use is slightly faulty, so IMnotsoHO i think it's possible that constipation signals are indeed throwing things out of whack, so to speak.

mind you, i'm not a doc but have learned a lot about how your CNS works with the rest of your body to run things.  i consider myself damn lucky to have an intact spinal cord.  so many of the body's automatic functions (hell, just about all) depend on that intricate and complicated dance between the CNS, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous systems.


ps, the first person who writes back and accuses me of advocating colonic therapy to cure seizures will be shit on, pun intended.

Edited by reddog, 05 October 2005 - 12:07 PM.

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#3 AirMarshall

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 06:33 PM

I'm poaching on this board, but the subject grabbed me.

- I could posit a feedback loop through the vagal nerve, if the constipation were the cause.  If this were the cause then I would expect to see other physical problems that stimulated seizures as well, e.g.  upset stomach, hiccups, cuts, bruises. (

- Peristalsis of the intestines is an autonomic (non-voluntary) muscular response.  Perhaps the constipation itself could be a precursor lower level seizure symptom that manifests before the higher level seizures.

A.M. I'm not pretending any expertise in epilepsy, just thinking through possible explanations.

**My work is done.  Swimming for the nearest shore.**


#4 number_6

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 07:30 PM

I'm poaching on this board, but the subject grabbed me.

- I could posit a feedback loop through the vagal nerve, if the constipation were the cause.  If this were the cause then I would expect to see other physical problems that stimulated seizures as well, e.g.  upset stomach, hiccups, cuts, bruises. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

While we're postulating: in Belgium, the docs treat migraine first with an anti-emetic, then with pain killers, on this same theory.  ie: the nausea is stimulating the nerves to cause the headache.

Whatever.  It worked.  Once I returned to the states and couldn't get my beloved Motilium liquid any longer, my life was a living hell until I was Rx'd Topamax.  And I still get horrific nausea before a "spell".


6

(whose head explosions are now not considered migraine BTW, but NOS)
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#5 gretl

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 11:54 AM

Wow - some very intriguing theories and connections suggested here.  Thank you. Really.

I do know of one other uberspazz child whose mother reports the same. Sample size of four?! 

(Reddog, that point about your friend ending up in the E/R from constipation and high blood pressure is a little frightening!)

I haven't talked to daughter's neuro yet, but I mentioned it to her most excellent pdoc (the one who diagnosed Asperger's; supposedly has a lot of experience with autism).  He hadn't heard of it before but he didn't blow off the possibility.  Unfortunately(?) she's not "plugged up" anymore, but is still seizing.  Because now she has a virus.  Grumble grumble pleh...
<span style='color:green'>Gretchen, BP2; ex-computer-geek; wife to fellow nutjob; mother to two beautiful daughters: 9yo uberspazz and 5yo NT with a blessedly strong personality in her own right!</span>

<span style='color:purple'>What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?</span>
Elvis Costello

#6 reddog

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 03:34 PM

that point about your friend ending up in the E/R from constipation and high blood pressure is a little frightening!)


it is a big problem for quadraplegics, but not, i repeat, NOT for people with intact spinal columns.  we don't have to worry.  the quads do.

(trying to find a way to say 'normal people don't have that problem' and realizing that this forum is a weird context for that comment)
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And, really, legalizing gay marriage is the right thing to do.

#7 gretl

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 12:05 PM

Something of a follow-on question, if I could pick your brains further: 

Last Friday Rowan was plugged up (again, groan) and had a partial seizure in the truck on the way to school.  It was like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" - she got in as her cheery fabulous outgoing self and came out (actually was basically dragged out) as her insecure neurotic freaked out self.  Her aide and I coaxed her into the school, but she had to hang in her hidey hole (corner of an empty classroom that's set up for her to escape to) for a couple hours and she wouldn't let me leave.  She was even holding her pencil funny.  Definitely post-ictal, but it passed (and I gave her a magnesium supplement that afternoon to get things moving again!)

Anyhow, it was a cold morning, and she wasn't wearing a warm coat.  As we were leaving and she walked from the house to the truck, she got an attack of the shivers.  Next I heard anything from her was when I opened her door at school.  She was complaining of being cold and all huddled into herself.  In the past, temperature changes in either direction HAVE triggered seizures (usually when she gets overheated though).  Also, occasionally she gets shivery AFTER a seizure.

Kassi, didn't I read somewhere that you have an overactive vasovagal response?  Does any of this sound familiar, and do you actually have seizures when that trigger is tripped?  Anyone else?  Not syncope, as Rowan has never lost consciousness with a seizure.  Some of her episodes could be near-syncope though, as we don't always see post-ictal behavior or sleep.
<span style='color:green'>Gretchen, BP2; ex-computer-geek; wife to fellow nutjob; mother to two beautiful daughters: 9yo uberspazz and 5yo NT with a blessedly strong personality in her own right!</span>

<span style='color:purple'>What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?</span>
Elvis Costello





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