Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size
A
A
A

Women, Epilepsy, and Sexuality

New knowledge, new drugs open new doors for people with seizure disorders.
By
WebMD Feature

Epilepsy and the medications used to control seizures can affect a woman's sexual health. Infertility, sexual dysfunction, higher rates of birth defects, and even osteoporosis are real issues for women with seizures.

While we may know more now than in the past about women with epilepsy, many misconceptions still persist.

Recommended Related to Sex & Relationships

Accept Your Partner's Friends

By Hayley Krischer The truth is out: You don't like some of your partner's friends. Maybe they're messy drunks who keep drawing your wife down their negative, drama-filled path. Or maybe they're self-admitting sexists who tell crass, demeaning jokes whenever you're around (jokes your husband laughs off). You’d like to draw a big X over these people's names, but your partner is completely loyal to them and gets defensive whenever you suggest that said people be phased out of your lives. “You don’t...

Read the Accept Your Partner's Friends article > >

"Informal surveys at both the local and national levels show that women with epilepsy consistently report a lack of knowledge about the difficulties they face," says Patricia Shafer, RN, MN, past chairman of the professional advisory board of the Epilepsy Foundation, who herself suffers from the disorder. "And a survey of health-care professionals, conducted a few years ago, revealed a lack of knowledge or uncertainty about what to do in terms of pregnancy management or problems of sexuality in such cases."

Though Shafer and other experts who spoke with WebMD agree that strides have been made in understanding the unique problems facing women with epilepsy in the past few years, they point to a new dilemma: Getting the message out to general care practitioners and their patients.

"Many women tell me they're aware of [some of the new findings]," says Shafer, who is also an epilepsy nurse specialist in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "But they don't follow through."

Alison Pack, MD, assistant professor of clinical neurology at Columbia University in New York, agrees. She and others are channeling their efforts at spreading the word on three of the main problems women with epilepsy face: reproductive health; bone health, particularly as a woman approaches menopause; and pregnancy.

Readdressing Reproductive Health

No one really knows exactly how seizures affect reproductive health, but there seems to a hormonal connection, experts say. According to Pack, the female hormones estrogen and progesterone act on certain parts of the brain where partial seizures often begin. Estrogen excites these brain cells and can increase the risk of seizures, while progesterone can inhibit or prevent seizures. Not all women with epilepsy develop seizures during their periods, and it is not clear why some women are more at risk.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
 
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article