Some people find that antiepileptic medications can have side-effects that affect physical intimacy and their sex lives.
Sometimes the medications can cause tiredness, some can cause gum over-growth, excessive hair growth, hair loss or weight changes, which can all affect self-image and self-esteem.
Sometimes the medications can decrease your interest in sex which can also happen for other reasons not just because of the antiepileptic medications.
If you are worried about this and you feel comfortable talking to your doctor, ask about it. Your doctor may not have all the answers but at least you should be given some reliable information.
Finding the right balance of seizure control and side-effects can be a challenge. Stopping medications due to frustrating side-effects might feel like a short term solution but doesn’t help reduce seizures and can be dangerous.
If you understand how some antiepileptic drugs can affect your physical and sexual health, it can help you make informed decisions about medications. Do some research, ask the doctor or pharmacist questions about your drugs if you have any.
Just remember though, that not all problems are caused by side effects of medications – sometimes the impact of seizures on you physically and emotionally can contribute to sexual problems as well.
If you are worried about having a seizure when becoming intimate with your partner, the worry can also contribute to having problems with sexual intimacy. That is, the more worried you become, the more likely you are to be focusing on what you are worrying about then enjoying the intimate moments with your partner. This can contribute to what is referred to as performance anxiety.
It is rare that sex will trigger a seizure; mostly it is just a coincidence, although it does occasionally happen.
An intimate partner needs to be taught what to do if a seizure occurs – in the bedroom or anywhere else! If your partner is aware that you have epilepsy and knows what to do in the event you do have a seizure, then a useful method to manage your anxiety during intimate moments is to focus more on enjoying your partners company rather than focusing your attention and energy on worrying whether you will have a seizure.