While certainly scary, seizure disorders in babies are not as uncommon as many would think and, in many cases, do not necessarily mean that your child is going to have to struggle with seizures his entire life. If your infant has experienced a seizure, there could be an assortment of causes at the root, ranging from nearly benign to potentially serious.
Increased Seizure Vulnerability
During the first years of your child’s life, he will experience substantial brain growth. As the Epilepsy Foundation reports, your child’s brain at 5 to 6 years of age will be four times the size it was at birth. Because your child’s brain is changing so much during this period, she is at an increased risk of experiencing a seizure.
Common Baby Seizure Causes
Infant seizures can be attributed to an assortment of conditions or disorders. These disorders include newborn illness, abnormal brain development, genetic disorders, febrile illness, encephalitis or meningitis. Because so many issues could be at the root of your child’s seizures, determining the cause often proves challenging.
The Testing Process
If your child experiences a seizure, his pediatrician will likely subject him to a battery of tests. One of the most common tests that doctors administer to determine the cause of a seizure is an MRI. An MRI test consists of a brain scan through which doctors can identify any brain abnormalities, potentially determining the cause of the seizures. Another common test given as the result of a seizure is a lumbar puncture. In a lumbar puncture test, your child’s doctor takes a small amount of fluid from his spine and tests this fluid for infection, as some serious infections cause seizures in babies.
As The Epilespy Foundation reports, medication is the most common treatment for seizures. Prescribing medication for seizure prevention to a baby often proves challenging, as it can be difficult to determine the proper dosage. If your child is prescribed medication, you may have to take part in a period of trial and error to determine the proper medication and dosage. Some seizures in infants can be controlled by diet modification. If your child is found to suffer from an epileptic syndrome, his doctor may prescribe a ketogenic diet in an attempt to reduce the prevalence of his seizures.
Four Potential Outcomes
Seizures in infancy will result in one of four possible outcomes, reports The Epilepsy Foundation. In one outcome, your child’s seizures will stop on their own after a few years. In the second, your child’s seizures will be effectively controlled by medication and eventually cease to occur. In the third, your child’s seizures continue, uncontrolled, for the rest of his life. And in the fourth, your child will require medication for seizure control for the remainder of his life.