Sexuality

Women with epilepsy can have active, healthy sex lives.  Just as desire for sex can vary among people without epilepsy, desire varies among people with epilepsy.  However, we do know that women (and men) with epilepsy have a slightly increased risk of suffering from sexual difficulties than those without epilepsy.  These difficulties include decreased desire or libido, decreased arousal, or difficulty attaining an orgasm, anorgasmia.

The cause of these difficulties can vary widely.  Uncontrolled seizures can be a cause of sexual difficulty, as can the antiepileptic medication a woman is taking to treat her seizures.  Not all medications interfere with sexual desire or function, though, so if one is causing sexual side effects, switching to another medication is often helpful.  A certain kind of epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, tends to be associated with sexual difficulties moreso than other kinds of epilepsy.  The reasons for this are complex but are mostly due to the fact that the temporal lobes play an important role in normal sexual function.

If you are experiencing sexual difficulties of any kind, be certain to discuss this with your physician.  Although many people feel this is a sensitive subject, do not be afraid or embarrassed to bring this up as your doctor may not remember to ask and healthy sexual functioning is an important part of most people’s lives and happiness.  Your doctor may be able to help by adjusting your medications, either to improve seizure control or decrease unwanted sexual side effects.  If not, he or she may want to refer you to see an endocrinologist, an obstetricion/gynecologist, and/or a psychiatrist or psychologist.