Physical and Hormonal Profile of Male Sexual Development in Epilepsy


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. H. Y. Tomoum at 10 El Nagah Street, El- Nozha, Cairo 11361, Egypt. E-mail:


Summary:  Purpose: This study was designed to investigate the effect of epilepsy and antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) on both the physical and hormonal aspects of the sexual development of male patients with epilepsy.

Methods: One hundred thirty male subjects with epilepsy, their age ranging between 8 and 18 years (mean, 14 ± 2.9 years), entered the study; all were taking AEDs. Anthropometric measurements [height, weight, and body mass index (BMI)], testicular volume, penile length, and pubarche were assessed in the studied groups, as well as measurement of the levels of testosterone (T), free testosterone (FT), estradiol (E2), lutenizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and prolactin (PRL), and the results were compared with those of a control group.

Results: In this study, male patients older than 16 years were significantly shorter than their matched controls. The mean values of testicular volume and penile length were significantly lower in the patients in the different age subgroups, and the pubic hair staging (pubarche) was delayed in the patients older than 16 years. The mean values of total testosterone, estradiol, LH, and FSH serum levels were significantly higher, whereas the mean values of free testosterone, total-T/E2, total. T/LH, and FT/E2 ratios were lower in the patient subgroups compared with their age-matched controls. There were no significant changes in the mean basal PRL serum levels in the patients compared with the controls. The present study demonstrated a reduction in the testicular volume and penile length, significantly lower mean values of free testosterone and total-T/E2, and a higher mean value of E2 in the patients receiving polytherapy in the age subgroup older than 16 years compared with those on monotherapy; however, there was no demonstrable effect of seizure control or the duration of illness in any of the studied parameters.

Conclusions: There is a delay in the sexual development of male patients with epilepsy in the different age subgroups, with endocrine changes in the form of increase in the total testosterone, but the free testosterone is lower, and an increase in estradiol, with lower T/LH levels. Patients receiving polytherapy, especially those older than 16 years, were more likely to have delayed gonadarch and disturbances in their hormonal profile.