How Epilepsy Can Affect Your Sex Life
Last updated: September 2022
Having epilepsy can affect your ability to have sex. Epilepsy can affect your sexual desire (drive) as well as your physical ability to have sex. The good news is, there are many ways you can manage these problems if you have epilepsy.1,2
Here is some of what you need to know about how epilepsy can affect your sex life. There are also tips for managing how epilepsy affects your sex life.
How does epilepsy affect sex?
There can be many factors that affect sex if you are living with epilepsy. There can also be more than one cause of sexual problems. Here are some factors that can disrupt your ability to have sex if you have epilepsy:1-4
- Epilepsy can disrupt areas of your brain that control sexual function.
- Epilepsy can affect your hormone levels. Hormone levels impact your sex drive and arousal.
- Some anti-seizure drugs can reduce your hormone levels.
- Anti-seizure drugs can also have side effects that affect your sex drive, such as tiredness or feelings of depression.
- How you feel about having epilepsy and how it impacts your daily life and relationships can affect your desire to have sex.
- Worrying about sex and about having a seizure during sex.
- Other conditions such as anxiety and depression can affect your sex drive.
How does epilepsy affect sex for men?
Many men with epilepsy can experience a reduced interest in sex. Some men can experience a reduced ability to get or keep an erection (erectile dysfunction). Epilepsy and some anti-seizure drugs may decrease your levels of testosterone and other hormones. Testosterone is a hormone that can affect your sex drive. Men with focal (partial) epilepsy are more likely to have changes in their testosterone levels.1-3
Some men with epilepsy may have a reduced sperm count. Epilepsy can affect how well your sperm can move (motility). This can impact fertility (ability to make a baby).3
How does epilepsy affect sex for women?
Some women with epilepsy can experience low sex drive and have problems with their sexual arousal. Women may have difficulties in being able to orgasm. Some women can experience dryness or muscle spasms in their vagina that make sex painful. All these factors can affect your interest in and ability to have sex.1
Some studies suggest that women with epilepsy are more likely to have irregular periods. Women with epilepsy are also more likely to have other disorders affecting their reproductive system, such as polycystic ovaries. These conditions can sometimes impact fertility.5
Can you have a seizure during sex?
Some people with epilepsy worry that they may have a seizure during sex or sexual activity. Having sex is very unlikely to cause a seizure. Most people with epilepsy will not have a seizure during sex.4
Managing sexual problems and epilepsy
People with epilepsy can sometimes have other conditions or feelings that affect their interest in having sex. These include:1-4
- Difficulty sleeping
Your doctor can help you understand if these other factors are limiting your interest and ability to have sex. Your doctor may be able to help you manage these factors.1-4
If your symptoms started after you began taking anti-seizure medicine, the 2 may be linked. Your doctor can help you manage any problems you are having with sex drive or sexual desire. They may also be able to provide support or counseling if worry or stress is a factor. Speak with your doctor if you are worried about how epilepsy may impact your ability to have sex or your fertility.1-4
Do you have epilepsy? Or are you caring for someone with epilepsy?
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