SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
An unusual sensation, known as an aura, may precede a temporal lobe seizure, acting as a warning. Not everyone who has temporal lobe seizures experiences auras, and those who have auras may not remember them. The aura is actually a small seizure itself — one that has not spread into an observable seizure that impairs consciousness and ability to respond. Examples of auras include:
- A sudden sense of unprovoked fear
- A deja vu experience — a feeling that what's happening has happened before
- The sudden occurrence of a strange odor or taste
- A rising sensation in the abdomen
People who have temporal lobe seizures can remain partially conscious during a seizure, but they also may lose awareness of their surroundings and often don't remember what happened.
A temporal lobe seizure usually lasts 30 seconds to two minutes. Characteristic signs and symptoms of temporal lobe seizures include:
- Loss of awareness of surroundings
- Lip smacking
- Repeated swallowing or chewing
- Unusual finger movements, such as picking motions
After a temporal lobe seizure, you may have:
- A brief period of confusion and difficulty speaking
- Inability to recall the events that occurred during the seizure
- Unawareness of having had a seizure until someone else tells you
In extreme cases, what starts as a temporal lobe seizure evolves into a grand mal (tonic-clonic) seizure — featuring convulsions and a loss of consciousness.
When to see a doctor
Seek medical advice in these circumstances:
- If you think you're having seizures — early diagnosis is important
- When the number or severity of seizures increases significantly without explanation
- When new signs or symptoms of seizures appear
Seek emergency medical care if:
- A seizure lasts more than five minutes
- The person doesn't recover completely or as quickly as usual after the seizure is over
- Rhythmic muscle contractions or jerky movements occur, which may indicate a grand mal seizure is developing
If it appears a grand mal seizure may be developing:
- Call for medical help immediately.
- Gently roll the person onto one side and put something soft under his or her head.
- Loosen tight neckwear.
- Don't put anything in the mouth — the tongue can't be swallowed, and objects placed in the mouth can be bitten or inhaled.
- Don't try to restrain the person. Look for a medical alert bracelet, which may indicate an emergency contact person and other information.
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