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If you have a heart problem, you may worry about having sex. Maybe you're afraid you'll have symptoms, such as chest pain. Or maybe you think that you won't have enough energy for sex. You may even worry that having sex can cause a heart attack.
But sex is actually safe for most heart patients. They don't have any more sex-related heart attacks than other people do.
As far as your heart is concerned, having sex is like doing any mild to moderate exercise.
If you can do moderate exercise—like brisk walking—you're probably ready to resume sex. Your doctor might tell you that if you can climb two flights of stairs without having symptoms, such as chest pain, it's fine for you to have sex.
Being physically active—getting regular exercise—can help you build up stamina and make yourself stronger so that sex is more enjoyable.
Some heart patients may have reasons to avoid sex for a while. If you have serious heart problems and have symptoms, like chest pain, when you do anything physical, you probably should avoid sex until treatment stabilizes your symptoms. If you've just had heart surgery, you'll want to make sure that your incision has healed well before resuming sex.
You can ask your doctor to help you know if or when it's okay for you to have sex. If you need help dealing with feelings of worry or fear, you can also try professional counseling.
If you are a man with erection problems, talk to your doctor about what treatments are right for you.
Some medicines for erection problems can cause serious problems if you also use a nitrate medicine, such as nitroglycerin.
Sometimes doctors are so focused on your disease that they forget to ask about important parts of your life, like sex. You may have to bring up the subject yourself.
It can be hard to talk about sex, even with the person you are closest to. So it can be even harder to bring it up with your doctor. To be successful, try these tips:
Other Works Consulted
- Levine GN, et al. (2012). Sexual activity and cardiovascular disease: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 125(8): 1058–1072.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology|
|Last Revised||July 10, 2012|
Last Revised: July 10, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
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