Signs and Symptoms of Epilepsy in Children and Diagnosis

Published 6/28/2023

Pink stethoscope next to a ceramic white brain and stuffed animal

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes seizures affecting millions of people worldwide. When the condition affects children, it can be particularly challenging for parents who might not know what to expect and how to manage it. Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition that develops in childhood, and an electroencephalogram (EEG) is one of the most essential tests to diagnose and treat the condition.

While it can affect people of all ages, it is more common in children, with around 470,000 children in the United States affected by it. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of epilepsy in children, so that you can seek appropriate medical attention in a timely manner. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of epilepsy in children, as well as how it is diagnosed through EEG monitoring technology. Furthermore, we will uncover how EEG diagnosis plays a pivotal role in detecting and monitoring the condition. We will also provide insights into epilepsy management and help parents understand how they can support their child's overall well-being.

Epilepsy occurs frequently in children due to a developing brain that can cause disruptions in normal electrical activity. These disruptions may manifest as seizures, which are temporary disturbances in movement, thinking, sensation, or awareness.

Seizures are brief but sudden surges of electrical activity in the brain that affect how a person thinks, feels, or behaves. In young children, seizures can manifest as staring, rapid eye blinking, or momentary loss of consciousness. In older children, they can present as convulsions, sudden falls, or altered states of consciousness.

The seizures that affect children with epilepsy can occur frequently or infrequently, and their effects can range from mild and barely noticeable to severe and life-threatening. Etiologically, epilepsy in children can have various causes, including genetics, brain damage, infections, or unknown factors. Because a child's brain remains under construction, epilepsy requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to avoid impacts on development, learning and quality of life.

While frightening to observe, even severe seizures tend to end after a few minutes with no lasting effects when proper treatment applies. Epilepsy produces recurrent seizures that increase the risks of injury or neurological damage over time without the correct diagnosis and management.

Signs and Symptoms of Epilepsy in Children

Epilepsy in children can manifest in various ways, and not all children will experience the same symptoms. Some of the signs and symptoms of epilepsy in children include:

  • Seizures: Seizures are the most common symptom of epilepsy. There are different types of seizures, and the symptoms can vary depending on the type. Some seizures cause sudden muscle contractions, while others cause brief staring spells or loss of consciousness.
  • Abnormal movements: Children with epilepsy may exhibit abnormal movements such as jerking, twisting, or repetitive motions.
  • Changes in behavior: Epilepsy can also cause changes in behavior, including irritability, confusion, aggression, or sudden mood changes.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control: In some cases, seizures can cause loss of bowel or bladder control.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it is important to talk to their healthcare provider and get a referral to see a pediatric neurologist.

EEG Diagnosis for Epilepsy in Children

If your child is suspected of having epilepsy, their doctor may recommend an EEG monitoring service. An EEG is a non-invasive test that measures electrical activity in the brain. During the test, small electrodes will be placed on your child's scalp, and they will be asked to stay still and relax for a certain period of time while the machine records their brain activity.

An EEG can help diagnose epilepsy by recording abnormal electrical activity in the brain during seizures or between seizures. Doctors may also use EEG monitoring services to track treatment progress or determine the need for changes in treatment.

Preparing for an EEG Monitoring Service Test

Preparing your child for an EEG test can help make the process go smoothly. Here are some tips to help:

  • Let your child know what to expect: Explain the test to your child in simple terms and reassure them that the test is painless.
  • Avoid caffeine and stimulants: Avoid giving your child caffeine or other stimulants before the test, as these can affect the results.
  • Wash and dry your child's hair: Make sure your child's hair is clean, dry, and free of any hair products before the test.
  • Bring a comfort item: If your child has a comfort item such as a stuffed animal or blanket, bring it along to help them feel more at ease during the test.

Treatment for Epilepsy in Children

While there is no cure for epilepsy, the condition can be managed with the right treatment. Treatment for epilepsy may include medication, lifestyle changes, or surgery in certain cases. Your child's doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your child's specific needs. EEG monitoring services are a very common treatment method utilized by neurologists everywhere, so finding a good EEG monitoring company will be crucial in your journey.

How Can Parents Help Their Child With Epilepsy?

Epilepsy can be stressful for children and their parents, but with proper care, children with epilepsy can lead happy and fulfilling lives. Parents can support their child by understanding and educating themselves about epilepsy, developing a seizure action plan with their child's healthcare provider, and monitoring medication intake.

It is also crucial for parents to stay positive, communicate openly with their child's provider, and encourage their child to participate in activities that they enjoy. Epilepsy is a challenging neurological condition that affects millions worldwide, and children are particularly susceptible to the disorder.

EEG monitoring services play a critical role in determining an epilepsy diagnosis, providing valuable insights that help healthcare providers tailor treatment plans that suit each child's needs. Getting in touch with a neurologist and working with a reputable EEG monitoring company is a great place to start when seeking help for your child.

Final Words

Epilepsy in children can be a difficult condition, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, most children with epilepsy can live normal, healthy lives. Knowing the signs and symptoms of epilepsy in children and seeking medical attention promptly can help ensure that your child gets the care they need.

If you suspect that your child may have epilepsy, talk to their healthcare provider and ask about an EEG monitoring service. Medicine and technological advancements have made epilepsy much more manageable than in the past.

Choosing an established EEG monitoring company staffed by pediatric specialists allows for the most accurate insights into your child's condition. If you are in need of assistance and are looking for answers, contact Neurotech today for more information!