Sexual dysfunction in women with epilepsy

Cynthia L. Harden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Sexual dysfunction in women with epilepsy (WWE) is an important comorbidity. A significant minority of WWE have markedly decreased sexual interest and it appears that orgasmic dysfunction occurs more frequently in WWE than in control women. Enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs can adversely affect sexual functioning by decreasing bioactive testosterone levels. Temporal lobe epilepsy of right-sided versus left-sided origin may also be a risk factor for sexual dysfunction. In addition to these factors, emerging evidence suggests that the serotonin transporter protein is related to temporal lobe epilepsy and it is postulated that this transporter may play a role in altered sexual functioning in epilepsy, perhaps through the serotonergic effects of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Strategies for modifying the contributors to sexual dysfunction in WWE will be discussed as well as the role of the neurologist in initiating management of this challenging comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorgasmia
  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Epilepsy
  • Serotonin
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Women


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