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Weird question: constipation causing seizures?


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... 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.

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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.

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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...

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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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  • 3 weeks later...

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.

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  • 11 years later...

I absolutely believe this to be true, and they are worse at this time.  I mentioned it to my Dr. and I basically try to manage it. My Lamictal controls seizures very well, but with constipation the only thing that works is relief.  I've been using probiotics and they help.  Lots of water andwalking, situps, whatever movements she's able to do.  

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  • 5 years later...
On 10/25/2005 at 1:05 PM, gretl said:

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.

Hi! I have a 20 year old nonverbal son with autism. I am trying to make a connection with him needing to have a bowel movement that triggers possible seizures. It seems like perhaps you are saying you’ve seen this? He’s not been formally diagnosed as having epilepsy, but he goes through these intense aggressive outbursts that seem completely like he’s involuntary taken over by a demon. Typically he needs to have a bm after. Is it possible this is triggering a seizure?! 

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Hkm -

Crazyboards is a first-person peer-support forum, and I'm afraid we do not entertain questions by persons about third parties. I understand that your son is nonverbal, but our forum is not suited for your needs. In addition, you are asking your question in reply to a post that a member made 17 years ago. Furthermore, as an Autist myself, I would counsel you that most of us in the Autism community would take a dim view of your description of your son's behavior as akin to demonic possession. I regret that we cannot be of assistance to you.

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