Nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity evaluation in men with epilepsy

Epilepsia. 1996 Dec;37(12):1211-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1996.tb00555.x.


Purpose: Men with epilepsy appear to have an approximately fivefold increase in risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). We attempted to determine whether ED in men with epilepsy was due to a physiological basis and whether erectile function could be adequately evaluated with an ambulatory nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity monitor.

Methods: The physiologic integrity of the sexual response in men with epilepsy and ED was assessed with an ambulatory nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity monitor (NPTR). Six men with localization-related epilepsy of temporal lobe origin (TLE) and ED, 2 men with TLE and normal sexual function, and 1 man with nonepileptic seizures (NES) and ED underwent evaluation of nocturnal erections for at least 2 nights.

Results: Five of 6 men with TLE and complaints of ED had abnormal ambulatory NPTR evaluations. All others had normal ambulatory NPTR. All abnormal evaluations showed reduced levels of rigidity, often with normal levels of tumescence.

Conclusions: Previous studies have shown this abnormal ambulatory NPTR pattern to be associated with neurogenic rather than vasogenic ED. Therefore, epilepsy-related ED may have a substantial neurophysiologic component.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / psychology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection / physiology*
  • Penis / physiopathology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology