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Epilepsia. 1996 Dec;37(12):1204-10.

Self-reported sexual function and sexual arousability in women with epilepsy.

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Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA.



Women with epilepsy are at risk for sexual dysfunction but the frequency and types of dysfunction have not been well characterized.


Self-reported sexual function was evaluated in 116 women aged 18-65 years with epilepsy and no concomitant medical or psychiatric illness, including 99 with localization-related epilepsy (LRE) and 17 with primary generalized epilepsy (PGE). Variables evaluated included seizure frequency, age of seizure onset, and antiepileptic drug (AED) exposure. Standardized inventories assessed sexual functioning, sexual arousability and anxiety, sexual behavior, and depression.


Although sexual experience was not reduced, women with PGE and LRE reported significantly less sexual arousability and women with LRE reported significantly more sexual anxiety. Women with LRE experienced significantly more dyspareunia, vaginismus, arousal insufficiency, and sexual dissatisfaction, whereas women with PGE experienced anorgasmia and sexual dissatisfaction. Sexual symptoms were not associated with seizure frequency, AED exposure, sexual experience, depression, or prepubertal seizure onset.


In contrast to subjects of previous research, the women in our study did not have a disorder of sexual desire, but more than one third experienced disorders of sexual arousal, implying a physiological deficit. Although the etiology for these arousal phase dysfunctions has not been defined, such conditions are treatable and warrant referral to a gynecologist versed in the treatment of sexual disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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