Men and Epilepsy
If you are a man with epilepsy, you may face issues unique to your gender – including testosterone production, libido, and fertility – as well as other issues related to epilepsy. This blog will go over these facts and more.
For information on the affect of epilepsy on testosterone production, libido, and fertility, please click here to view a past BC Epilepsy Society blog post on the subject. For additional information on men and epilepsy, please see below:
Changing Your Mentality:
- When faced with challenges, such as epilepsy, many men often feel as though they need to “do it alone” or “tough it out”
- However, keep in mind that asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness
- It is time to change your mentality and ask for help when you need it
Follow the Advice of Your Doctor:
- Following the advice of your doctor is the best way to effectively deal with your epilepsy
- Think of your epilepsy as a sports game with yourself as a player who wants to win and your doctor as a coach who knows everything about playing the game
- If you want better seizure control, you must learn how to play the game and how to work with your doctor as a partner to come up with the best strategies for dealing with your epilepsy
Follow a Routine with Medication:
- We know that it can be hard to take medications every day but following a routine is helpful as it keeps you motivated to take your medication and avoid seizures
- As missed medication is the most common trigger for seizures, it is important to follow a routine with your medication by taking your medications on time, at the correct dosage and as prescribed to you by your doctor
- It is dangerous to stop your medication without the prior approval of your doctor as it could lead to uncontrolled seizures that are more difficult to treat than before, status epilepticus or SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy)
- Some advice is to take your medications at the same time every day, get your medications blister packed or use a pill box or daily dose holder, refill your prescriptions on time to ensure you don’t run out, and consult your doctor ahead of time on what to do if you do miss a dose
Driving and Epilepsy:
- Men with epilepsy often wonder if they are able to drive
- To ensure the safety of yourself and others, after a diagnosis of epilepsy, you must be seizure-free on medication for six-consecutive months before you are able to drive
- Until then, you can look into other options such as public transit, taxis, ridesharing or getting rides from others
Men with Epilepsy and Work:
- Epilepsy should not keep you from a job that you are qualified for, however keep in mind that there may be some jobs that are not suitable for people with uncontrolled seizures
- Telling an employer about your epilepsy is a delicate matter and is a personal situation, however, if your seizures affect your work performance or the safety of yourself and others, it is important to disclose your epilepsy to your employer as they may be able to make accommodations in the workplace
- Be prepared to answer questions about your epilepsy, provide factual information and remain positive when disclosing your epilepsy while explaining that your epilepsy will not affect your job and that studies actually show that people with epilepsy do not take more time off than others
- For information on disclosing epilepsy to your employer please click here
- For information on accommodations that could be done at your workplace, please click here
Epilepsy and How You Feel:
- Epilepsy can have an affect on how you feel, including side effects from medications
- The ups and downs of every day life are felt by all people, not just people with epilepsy
- Denying your feelings won’t help and accepting your feelings is what you need to do in order to move forward with your life
- Check our BC Epilepsy Society Support Groups as a way to meet others who are going through similar experiences and get advice from them
Epilepsy and Relationships:
- Accepting yourself and your epilepsy is important before entering into a relationship with another person
- Talking about your epilepsy with your significant other is essential as the relationship moves forward
- Check out information on this here
Epilepsy and Sex:
- It has been found that sex is very unlikely to trigger seizures and a healthy sex life can actually be a part of feeling well as it can decrease stress, create better conditions in relationships, etc.
- However, please keep in mind that sexual dysfunction can affect men with or without epilepsy
- If this is an issue that you are facing, you should consult your doctor as they may be able to help you deal with this.
Fatherhood and Epilepsy:
- Some men with epilepsy may express apprehension over becoming fathers due to the fear of passing on their epilepsy to their child however, it has been found that only about 5% of epilepsy is caused by genetic causes
- As a father with epilepsy, you may need to take some safety precautions, such as feeding or changing an infant on the floor, not bathing an infant in a tub by yourself, teaching older children to help take care of younger siblings and catching up on sleep whenever you can
- It is also important to explain your epilepsy to your children and answer any questions they may have because if your child were to witness you have a seizure and receive no explanation, they could get frightened
- You can also teach them how to help you if were to have a seizure around them, such as teaching them seizure first aid
Sports and Epilepsy:
- An active lifestyle benefits everyone as it can lead to improved sleep, decreased stress and may even have a controlling effect on seizures
- Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any sports or physical activity so they can help you determine what you can do
- Find more information on this here
- Men with epilepsy may worry about photosensitivity, which is when flashing lights can trigger a seizure
- However, only about 3-5% of people with epilepsy experience photosensitive seizures
- It has also been found that photosensitivity also affects more females than males
Alcohol and Drugs:
- As alcohol and drugs can have an affect on seizures, they should be avoided as much as possible
- Alcohol and drugs can worsen the side effects of epilepsy medications and make them less effective, cause you to forget to take your medications, etc.
- Additionally, some epilepsy medication may worsen the side effects of alcohol and drugs
We hope that the information contained in this blog is helpful for you! For additional information on issues with epilepsy that men may face, check out our Information Sheet on the subject here and our podcast from Voice Epilepsy™ podcast series on the subject here.
If you are a man with epilepsy, it can sometimes feel like your epilepsy overtakes your entire life. However, the more you learn about your condition and learn how to actively cope with it, the less that your epilepsy will be a concern for you. Epilepsy can interfere with your life but only if you let it because while epilepsy may pose some limitations, if you change your perspective, you will find that the obstacles that you once faced instead become challenges defining what you can and cannot do.
If you have concerns about any of the issues discussed in this blog or any other issues related to your epilepsy, please talk to your doctor as they may be able to work with you to come up with a variety of solutions that may help.