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15 - Sexual dysfunction in epilepsy

from Part IV - Health challenges for women with epilepsy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2009

Martha J. Morrell
Affiliation:
Professor of Clinical Neurology, Columbia University; Director of the Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital
Martha J. Morrell
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
Kerry L. Flynn
Affiliation:
Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center, New York
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Summary

Shortly after I became a specialist in the care of people with epilepsy, I realized that many of my patients were not happy with their sexuality. Women and men reported to me that they had less sexual desire than they wished they had. Men complained of difficulty achieving erections and women noted painful, difficult intercourse. In going to the medical literature, I found many reports that sexual dysfunction was common in people with epilepsy, but did not find good explanations as to why this should be. I had done research into sexual function earlier in my career and decided that there was a real need for research in sexuality in people with epilepsy. Our research team is still working in this area. We have learned a lot, but there is more to know. We find that about one-third of people with epilepsy have less interest in sex than they would like and about 40% have physical sexual problems. These physical problems affect sexual arousal, making intercourse difficult and not as pleasant. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for the kind of sexual problems that arise with epilepsy – but sexual symptoms have to be identified and discussed. Physicians and patients usually do not discuss sexuality. However, even if it is a little hard to begin the discussion, sexual symptoms are important. The health-care provider will be glad the topic is brought up so that an appropriate medical evaluation can be completed and helpful treatment can begin.

MJM
Type
Chapter
Information
Women with Epilepsy
A Handbook of Health and Treatment Issues
, pp. 152 - 163
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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References

Jensen, SB.Sexuality and chronic illness: biopsychological approach. Semin Neurol 1992; 12:135–40Google Scholar
Levine SB. Sexual Life. A Clinician's Guide. Plenum Press, New York, 1992
Masters WH, Johnson VE. Human Sexual Response. Little, Brown, Boston, 1966
Morrell MJ. Sexuality in epilepsy. In Epilepsy: a Comprehensive Textbook, ed. J Engel, TA Pedley. Lippincott-Raven, Philadelphia, 1997, pp. 2021–6

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  • Sexual dysfunction in epilepsy
    • By Martha J. Morrell, Professor of Clinical Neurology, Columbia University; Director of the Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Edited by Martha J. Morrell, Columbia University, New York, Kerry L. Flynn, Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center, New York
  • Book: Women with Epilepsy
  • Online publication: 02 November 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511545030.015
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  • Sexual dysfunction in epilepsy
    • By Martha J. Morrell, Professor of Clinical Neurology, Columbia University; Director of the Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Edited by Martha J. Morrell, Columbia University, New York, Kerry L. Flynn, Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center, New York
  • Book: Women with Epilepsy
  • Online publication: 02 November 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511545030.015
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Sexual dysfunction in epilepsy
    • By Martha J. Morrell, Professor of Clinical Neurology, Columbia University; Director of the Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Edited by Martha J. Morrell, Columbia University, New York, Kerry L. Flynn, Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center, New York
  • Book: Women with Epilepsy
  • Online publication: 02 November 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511545030.015
Available formats
×