Sexuality forms an important part in the lives of all human beings. We are defined as sensual beings the instant a baby is born and the close relative inquire, “Is it a girl, or a boy.” Being sexual has various connotations, including an expression of emotive closeness for a couple, the discharge of physical tension, and to get pregnant. How an individual expresses their sexuality is unique and hinge on various aspects including sexual orientation, age, cultural background, life experiences, gender, and medical factors.
Epilepsy can have great effect on sexuality, and sexuality can also effect on epilepsy. Many epileptic individuals who have gained a control over their seizures have a satisfying, relaxed sex life. Having a life partner, who is supportive and provide great emotional lovingness, as well as sexual closeness, is considered one of the best assets in helping epileptic individuals feel confident about them, which as a result increases seizure control. Stress and excessive anxiousness are common seizure triggers. Sex can help a great deal to reduce anxiety and stress, and help to relax individuals, thereby, reducing frequency of seizures.
Epileptic individuals often face sexual difficulties. These are mainly encountered because of the epilepsy itself, the anti-epileptic medicines used to treat seizures, or due to negative reactions of family or a partner to the diagnosis of life-threatening disease epilepsy.
Loss of Sexual Desire with Epilepsy
The loss or decrease of sexual desire is the most common symptom associated with epilepsy. This is however not seen with every epileptic individual. It greatly depends of the type of epilepsy an individual is suffering with. For instance, 50 percent of epileptic men notice decreased sexual desire; this is much higher for epileptic men suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy (60%), as related to men with tonic-clonic (grand mal) epilepsy (10%). Erectile dysfunction is another common problem associated with epileptic men. There are less studies or research about the negative effects of epilepsy associated with women’s sexual life, but the decrease in the desire to have sex appear similar for most epileptic women.
Sexual difficulties are greatly noticed in people whose epilepsy initiated before adolescence. While this is a result of more severe sickness, another elucidation is that epileptic teenagers may have had a more difficult time with dating non-epileptic friends. Epilepsy can greatly pose negative affect on an individual’s self-confidence, mood, and body image, which are very crucial aspects necessary to being able to interact with others.
Effect of Anti-Epileptic Medicines
Medicines used primarily to control seizure activity in an epileptic person such as valporic acid, phenobarbital and others causes many side-effects that can decrease sexual desire, sexual responsiveness, arousal (lubrication difficulties for women, erectile dysfunction for men), and orgasmic complications. Often these medicines cause excessive tiredness that greatly interferes with an evening out. Some medicines can also cause cosmetic effects as well. It is a difficult situation or time to deal with, as stopping medicine can make the epilepsy worse.
Who Should You Talk To About Epilepsy And Sex?
Discussing issues related with sexuality can feel awkward, but doctors can always suggest change in medicines which can greatly help you. With the availability of new medicines for epilepsy that have less side effects, doctors if are aware of your sexual difficulties can really understand and prescribe you such medicines, so don’t feel awkward or embarrassed bringing up sexual concerns to them.