Epilepsy Talk

Weird epilepsy triggers… | March 28, 2023

Here’s a list of uncommon epilepsy triggers you may have experienced or know about.

Feel free to add to this list of the weird and the unknown…

Atmospheric Conditions

Changes in air pressure or any sudden action, (such as rising from a prone position too quickly), can act as an instant stressor. Like taking off or landing in an airplane…going up or down on a fast elevator or escalator.

Barometric Pressure

Weather differences such as sudden changes in temperature, dark skies, thunder, or bright, hot sunlight and humidity may be a definite trigger for some.

Body Toxins

Exposure to toxins in our air, water or food, can cause everything from vomiting, diarrhea, liver or renal failure, blood sugar levels, and electrolyte imbalances. Constipation can be added to the list also. When these things happen, all the toxins already in our system build up. It also might be a side-effect of your drugs or it may cause the effectiveness of your medications, but ether way, you are at risk.


You always thought you could be “bored to death” but it can also incite a seizure. By being isolated, having no social interactions, diversions, or recreational activities — all that’s left is to think about yourself and anticipate when your next seizure will come.


The flashing lights and all the noise and hubbub at a casino — ringing bells, blaring music, — is enough to give anyone a headache, no less a seizure.

Dental Problems

Have your teeth and gums checked regularly. Some of your medications just love the calcium found in teeth and bones, making them fragile and prone to breakages and disease. Dental disease can no longer be considered a minor problem with just your gums and teeth. Your state of health (especially the state of your immune system), whether you still have amalgam fillings, the amount of mercury you’ve been exposed to over time, and the amount still present in your body, directly influence the number and severity of your symptoms. You’ll never achieve optimum health if you have poor oral health.


People with hyperglycemia tend to have focal or local seizures. And those who are hypoglycemic, tend to have tonic-clonic seizures. To keep your blood sugar from fluctuating, eat a good breakfast when you wake up. Complex carbohydrates will help start your day and give you sustained energy throughout. Also, try to eat wholesome snacks often during the day to keep your system balanced.


It has been proven that grapefruit/juice/rind/skin can negatively affect some medications. You are probably saying “but I thought these grapefruits were good for me and my health?” Grapefruit juice provides many nutrients such as Vitamin C, but chemicals in grapefruit interfere with enzymes that break down certain medications in your digestive system which, in turn, causes a high risk of bringing on seizures. Tegretol in any form is one of the main anti-epilepsy medications that grapefruit affects.


Sometimes in a stressful situation, it’s the body’s way of saying there is confusion in the brain and it just doesn’t know where to turn. Oxygen is not getting to your brain and the hyperventilation expends vast amounts of energy. You could be in shock and this is where it is difficult to tell whether it is a response from an over stimulated brain or a true seizure. But you could go on to have an epileptic seizure following the stress and lack of oxygen. (For a long time, hyperventilation has been used as a means to provoke seizures. It’s often used to trigger epileptiform discharges and/or seizures during EEGs.)

Immersion in Hot or Cold Water

Anything done too suddenly (a quick change of any kind) can lead to a seizure. Going from cold to a warm temperature, or going from a warm house to a bitter cold day outdoors, can shock your system. When having a bath, it is best to have the bath water warm rather than hot as getting into a hot bath, along with the added humidity present in the bathroom also may be enough to trigger a seizure. When immersing yourself in cold water it is best to do this gradually and make sure you have another person with you to ensure your safety.

Low Blood Sugar Level

This leads to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain causing brain degeneration.


People with epilepsy are more than twice as likely to develop migraine headaches as those without seizures. Research showed that more than 20 percent of people with epilepsy have migraines, compared to 11 percent of the general population. And there’s an overlap in the two conditions. In another epilepsy study, about 16% of those people who had migraines also experienced epileptic seizures before, during, or after a migraine.

Odors and Perfumes

Perfume directly affects the brain and has both a physiological and a psychological effect upon our respiration and breathing, as well as upon our moods and thoughts. Although our sense of smell declines with age, you need to be aware that strong or even subtle smells or perfumes can be one of your triggers for seizures. Sometimes a person who has experienced some seizure activity brought about by a particular odor may not discuss it because they think other people, even their doctors, will think they’re crazy. But it’s for real. And then there are other odors, much less enticing, some of which include paint, hairspray, cleaning products, ammonia, kerosene, car exhaust fumes, gasoline and solvents.


Apparently, playing this thinking game, which can require intense concentration, can induce seizures. (You heard it first here!)


Musicogenic epilepsy is a form of reflexive epilepsy in which a seizure is triggered by music or specific frequencies. Sensitivity to music varies from person to person. Some people are sensitive to a particular tone from a voice or instrument. Others are sensitive to a particular musical style or rhythm. Still others are sensitive to a range of noises.


Causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in mental power.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea includes pauses in breathing, indicated by gasping, snoring or difficulty in breathing during the night. It is more common in men than in women, and often occurs in larger people whose throat muscles and fat tissue cause an obstruction while they’re sleeping. These pauses in breathing can easily be confused with seizures. In fact, having apnea can trigger seizures. Having seizures can also trigger apnea; so it can work either way.


Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Water is good for us, but it can dilute your medications. It’s best to spread your fluid intake over the day. Your body needs a balance of salt and water. And be cautious of drinking water from plastic bottles and leaving them lying around in the heat.

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  1. Add in arthritis/spondylosis,, stenosis in the cervical, neck part of spine, it can cause the same damage as an accident which causes brain trauma, I’ve just learnt I have those in my neck and I’ll ask my neuro for her opinion as no reason has been found for my epilepsy starting

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Miss Gail Barry — March 28, 2023 @ 2:03 PM

    • It won’t surprise you to learn that close associations do exist between head trauma and seizures — as much as 12 times as opposed to someone without a head trauma.

      What’s more, studies suggest that approximately 6% of patients with TBI have epilepsy as the cause.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 28, 2023 @ 5:04 PM

  2. Aesthetically gauche, but orgasm has been in the medical lit for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jeffrey Lee Hatcher — March 29, 2023 @ 1:41 PM

  3. Hi I know this is weird. Old toys and Christmas decorations can trigger my seizures???

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Amy Ketterer — March 29, 2023 @ 2:23 PM

  4. You know, I think overcast skies used to do it. The first major episode in my life that I recall happened outside under a very overcast sky.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Hetty Eliot — March 29, 2023 @ 4:32 PM

  5. Oncoming headlights at night on the highway have a strobe light effect which, obviously, make a driver nervous. Similarly traveling on a highway with overhanging branches – the foliage breaks the sunlight into patches, each of which is a light flash on the windshield. Nature has strobe lights all over the place for anyone going faster than 25 MPH.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jeffrey Lee Hatcher — March 29, 2023 @ 4:40 PM

  6. I assumed these were common knowledge .
    Wish people would self educate more, it just makes life so much better🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by cathy Halilovic — March 31, 2023 @ 3:35 AM

  7. this is a fantastic list of what is goin on with my son!! This is so validating thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mali — April 2, 2023 @ 12:24 PM

  8. Just wanted you to know that Magnets may be helpful for these type of seizures.
    My son has to major magnets in his pockets for the last 2 days to ground him, and he has had less seizures!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mali — April 9, 2023 @ 7:03 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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