Sexual Dysfunction and its Incidence in Patients with Epilepsy

Authors: R. Mařák 1;  M. Pohanka 2;  K. Langová 3;  J. Zapletalová 3;  R. Herzig 1;  P. Kaňovský 1
Authors‘ workplace: Neurologická klinika LF UP a FN Olomouc 1;  Sexuologický ústav 1. LF UK v Praze 2;  Ústav lékařské biofyziky LF UP v Olomouci 3
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2010; 73/106(3): 279-283
Category: Short Communication


In patients treated for epilepsy, the incidence of sexual dysfunction (SD) is reported at between 20% and 60%. SD incidence is influenced by seizure type (generalized, partial), level of compensation, the effect of antiepileptic therapy and other factors. A higher incidence of SD is reported in patients with partial seizures, in poorly compensated patients and in patients on multiple antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of SD in patients with epilepsy and a control group (CG). In patients with epilepsy, the influence of seizure type, degree of compensation and number of AEDs on SD incidence were also assessed. The sample consisted of 78 patients with epilepsy (31 men, 47 women), aged 22 to 72 years, mean 39.9 ± 12.5 years. The control group comprised 37 people without epilepsy, aged 21 to 52 years, mean 32.6 ± 7.3 years. All patients and members of the control group completed a short version of the international questionnaire of sexual function and if the result indicated a possible occurrence of SD, they completed the full questionnaire. The statistical analysis used Fisher’s exact test and the χ2 test. In the groups studied, SD occurred in 60% of all epilepsy patients compared with 27% in the control group (p = 0.001). In patients with epilepsy, the occurrence of SD was higher in those with partial epileptic seizures, those with compensated epilepsy and in patients treated with 0– 1 AEDs. However, these differences was not statistically significant. The present study de­monstrated a significantly higher occurrence of SD in patients with epilepsy compared to the control group.

Key words:
sexual dysfunction – epilepsy – antiepileptic therapy


1. Levine LA. Diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction. Am J Med 2000; 109 (Suppl): 3S– 12S.

2. Morrell MJ. Self‑ reported sexual function and sexual arousability in women with epilepsy. Epilepsia 1996; 37(12): 1204– 1210.

3. Kimura M, Murata Y, Shimoda K, Robinson RG. Sexual dysfunction following stroke. Compr Psychiatry 2001; 42(3): 217– 222.

4. Jønsson A. Disseminated sclerosis and sexuality. Ugeskr Laeger 2003; 165(26): 2642– 2646.

5. Pohanka M, Kanovský P, Bares M, Pulkrábek J,Rektor I. The long‑lasting improvement of sexualdysfunction in patients with advanced, fluctuating Parkinson‘s disease induced by pergolide: evidence from the results of an open, prospective, one‑year trial. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2005; 11(8): 509– 512.

6. Rees PM, Fowler CJ, Maas CP. Sexual function in men and women with neurological disorders. Lancet 2007; 369(9560): 512– 525.

7. Cockerell OC. Epilepsy in a population of 6000 re‑examined: secular trends in first attendance rates, prevalence, and prognosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiat 1995; 58(5): 570– 576.

8. Herzog AG, Drislane FW, Schomer DL, Pennell PB, Bromfield EB, Dworetzky BA et al. Differential effects of antiepileptic drugs on sexual functions and hormones in men with epilepsy. Neurology 2005; 65(7): 1016– 1020.

9. Harden CL. Sexuality in women with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 2005; 7 (Suppl 2): 2– 6.

10. Harden CL. Sexuality in men and women with epilepsy. CNS Spectr 2006; 8 (Suppl 9): 13– 18.

11. Zelená V, Kuba R. Sexuální dysfunkce u žen s epilepsií a jejich příčiny. Cesk Slov Neurol N 2008; 71/ 104(3): 271– 276.

12. Rosen RC, Riley A, Wagner G, Osterloh IH, Kirkpatrick J, Mishora A. The international index of erectile function (IIEF): a multidimensional scale for assessment of erectile dysfunction. Urology 1997; 49(6): 822– 830.

13. Rosen R, Brown C, Heiman J, Leiblum S, Newton C,Shabsiqh R et al. The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI): a multidimensional self‑ report instrument for the assessment of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther 2000; 26(2): 191– 208.

14. Kuba R, Pohanka M, Zakopčan J, Rektor I. Sexual dysfunctions and blood hormonal profiles in males suffering from refractory focal epilepsy. Epilepsia 2005; 46 (Suppl 6): 125.

15. Kratochvíl S. Sexuální dysfunkce. 2nd ed. Praha: Grada Publishing 2003.

16. Duncan S, Blacklaw J, Beastall GH, Brodie MJ. Antiepileptic drug therapy and sexual function in men with epilepsy. Epilepsia 1999; 40: 197–204.

Paediatric neurology Neurosurgery Neurology Sexuology

Article was published in

Czech and Slovak Neurology and Neurosurgery

Issue 3

2010 Issue 3

Most read in this issue

This topic is also in:

Forgotten password

Don‘t have an account?  Create new account

Forgotten password

Enter the email address that you registered with. We will send you instructions on how to set a new password.


Don‘t have an account?  Create new account