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'Sex Talk' Eases Fear of Sex After Heart Attack

More Patients Rekindle Sex Lives if Their Doctors Discuss When It's Safe to Resume Sex

Doctor-Patient Discussions continued...

Lindau says doctors are often reluctant to discuss with their heart patients the issue of sex after a heart attack, especially if those patients are older. They may also assume, often incorrectly, that there is no need to broach the subject, she adds.

"There is no role for profiling in this discussion," she says. "And I have never found a patient to be offended or embarrassed when I raise the topic of sexuality. Some tell me it is not an issue for them. But bringing it up shows that I am not making judgments, and it makes it easier for them to talk about it if it does become an issue in the future."

New York cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, MD, who specializes in treating women with heart disease, says she typically talks to her heart attack patients about sex while discussing physical activity in general.

In addition to fear about triggering a second heart attack, loss of libido or sexual satisfaction caused by depression or heart medications are common concerns among patients.

"It is important to discuss these issues," she says. "If the doctor doesn't bring it up, the patient definitely should."           

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