March 9, 2022

Frontal lobe seizures – what you need to know

About Epilepsy

Frontal lobe seizures are a common type of epilepsy. Learn what causes frontal lobe epilepsy, how it’s diagnosed and treated.

Frontal lobe seizures are the second most common type of epileptic seizure (after temporal lobe epilepsy). They often start and end very quickly and can have some different  symptoms.

If you have frontal lobe seizures it can be really helpful to learn more about what they are and why you are having them. Here is everything that you need to know about frontal lobe seizures.

What is frontal lobe epilepsy?

Frontal lobe seizures are seizures that begin in the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that is behind your forehead. It controls your movement, emotions, decision-making and problem solving. Depending on exactly where in the frontal lobe the seizures begin, the symptoms change from one person to the next.

A woman trying to focus after a frontal lobe seizure

What causes frontal lobe epilepsy?

Frontal lobe seizures may happen for a number of reasons including:

  • Unusual brain tissue
  • Infections
  • Head injuries
  • Tumors
  • Strokes
  • Inherited conditions

For about half of people with frontal lobe epilepsy we don't know what causes their seizures.

Frontal lobe epilepsy symptoms

Frontal lobe seizures are often very short (lasting less than 30 seconds). You may recover quickly or even immediately and be able to carry on with what you were doing. Many people with frontal lobe seizures only experience them at night, but they can happen during the day too.

Depending on where in the brain the seizures begin frontal lobe epilepsy symptoms can include:

  • Moving your head and eyes to the side
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Screaming or shouting noises (including curse words)
  • Repetitive movements like rocking or pelvic thrusting
  • Paddling your feet like you are on a bicycle
  • Unusual body movements like extending your arm out front
  • Wetting yourself
  • Frontal lobe seizures and memory loss can be a problem for some too

You might feel embarrassed or frustrated about frontal lobe seizures, especially when the behavior seems unusual to other people. Try talking to your doctor to find out if there are any support groups near you where you can meet others who are living with epilepsy.

Support groups: How to find epilepsy support near you

How are frontal lobe seizures diagnosed?

It is sometimes challenging to diagnose frontal lobe seizures because the behavior may look like other psychiatric conditions or sleep disorders. To help diagnose your condition, your doctor might try some of the following procedures:

  • Medical history: The doctor will ask for a detailed description of your seizures and other medical issues you’ve had (like head injuries when you were younger).
  • Neurological exam: This includes a variety of tests of your nervous system for things like muscle strength, vision or balance.
  • MRI scans: These are a type of brain scan which can create an image of your brain and discover any physical changes in the tissue.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): This is adevice you wear on your head which can scan for unusual electrical patterns in your brain.

Treatments for frontal lobe seizures  

Frontal lobe seizures in adults and children might be treated in the following ways:

  • Anti-epilepsy medication: This is the most common approach to begin with. However not everybody responds well to seizure medicine.
  • Surgery: In some cases it is possible to remove the specific part of the brain which is causing the frontal lobe epilepsy symptoms.
  • Diets: Special diets like the ketogenic diet may be used to treat some people with frontal lobe seizures.
  • Devices: Certain types of medical devices can be implanted in your body that can regulate electrical activity in your brain and reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.

Have you tried Epsy?

If you have frontal lobe seizures it is helpful to track your seizures, medications and side effects to learn more about how often and why your seizures happen. With Epsy, you can record any events that happen around your seizures and spot if there are any specific triggers that seem to affect you. Try the app today