Sexual dysfunction in men with epilepsy

16th November 2018

Most men with epilepsy will have completely normal sex lives, however, there are those who experience a variety of negative effects. It must also be stressed that any man can have problems relating to sex, but research suggests that a higher percentage of men with epilepsy may experience one or more of the problems we are going to outline in this post.

Impotence and arousal

Although it’s not common, sexual dysfunction such as loss of arousal and impotence have been noted to be more common in men who have epilepsy than those who don’t. It can be  very distressing to experience and can impact on relationships and lead to other problems, such as depression.

Fertility

Most men with epilepsy will have no problems with their fertility and ability to conceive a child but the percentage is higher in those who have epilepsy than the average man who doesn’t. It may be found that a man with epilepsy has a lower sperm count than one who does not. The issue can range from slight difficulties in conceiving to being completely infertile, although the latter is rare.

Causes of sexual dysfunction in men with epilepsy

Medication

There are a variety of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) that may contribute to low sperm count and impotence. Medications that are commonly associated with sexual dysfunction include:

  • Carbamazepine
  • Clobazam
  • Clonazepam
  • Gabapentin
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Pregabalin
  • Primidone
  • Sodium valproate
  • Topiramate

If you are taking one of these medications and experiencing sexual dysfunction, it might be worth talking to your specialist. It might be that an alternative medication can be prescribed to help improve your situation and restore sexual function.

Lowered testosterone levels

Testosterone is a body chemical that is responsible for a male’s sexual function. It’s possible that a person with epilepsy may have lower than the average man without epilepsy. Seizures can contribute to lower testosterone levels. Certain types of epilepsy, such as temporal lobe epilepsy, are particularly associated with lowered testosterone. Finally, many of the medications listed above can have the side effect of lowering testosterone.

Other causes

It’s important not to simply assume that epilepsy is responsible for sexual dysfunction. There are many other causes that could contribute, including:

  • Tiredness
  • Age
  • Illness
  • Alcohol
  • Substance abuse
  • Other medical conditions

National Epilepsy Training can help

For more information and advice on sexual dysfunction and epilepsy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call us on 01706 373075 or email admin@nationalepilepsytraining.co.uk.