Sex After a Heart Attack
A Few Words of Caution
Viagra and Other Erectile Dysfunction Drugs: These drugs do not mix
well with nitroglycerin, which many heart patients take to relieve angina, or
chest pain. The FDA warns that the combination can send blood pressure
plummeting to unsafe levels and cause dizziness, fainting, heart attack or
stroke. "There have been some reports of death," Thomas says. "Anybody who's
had a heart attack or heart surgery should definitely be cleared through their
doctor before they think of using any of the medications for sexual
These drugs are used to treat high blood pressure
and other heart problems. They can also reduce risk of heart attack in people
who have already had one. These drugs can increase risk of sexual dysfunction
for both men and women. That's especially true at high doses, according to
Thomas. Beta blockers may cause you to feel depressed, Goldberg says. "You may
not feel like having sex."
Warning Signs to Stop: If you have chest pain, extreme shortness of
breath, or an irregular heartbeat during sex, stop and rest. If the problem
doesn't go away, call 911. "With any kind of physical activity, we'll breathe
harder and our heart will beat faster," Thomas says. "If it's more than the
usual type of shortness of breath or more than a moderate increase in heart
rate, that would be a sign to stop and to potentially seek medical
Sex After a Heart Attack: Resuming Your Romantic Life
In the weeks and months after a heart attack, it's normal for patients to
have sex less frequently. But when they're ready to resume, they should proceed
gradually and without fear, experts say.
"Think of sex as a particularly enjoyable workout," Sotile writes in his
book, "Thriving with Heart Disease."
He advises heart attack patients to pace themselves and ease back into
sexual activity. It's also best to try to have sex only when patients feel
rested and relaxed.
Experts also recommend waiting from one to three hours after eating a meal
to allow for digestion.
Regular exercise helps, too. "We encourage people with heart problems to get
in the best shape of their lives," Thomas says. When people become more fit,
their hearts are better able to handle the demands of physical activity,