Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

'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
WebMD Health News

May 21, 2010 -- People who are sexually active before a heart attack tend to be less so after recovering, especially if they don't have the "sex talk" with their doctors, new research shows.

In a survey of heart attack patients, only about half of men and a third of women said their cardiologist discussed when it would be safe to resume sex prior to hospital discharge. Just 40% of men and 20% of women reported talking about the issue with a doctor in the year after their heart attack.

The survey also shows that sexual activity declined for both men and women during the year following a heart attack.

After adjusting for multiple factors, the researchers found that men were 30% more likely and women were 40% more likely to report a decline in sexual activity when their doctors failed to discuss sex with them after a heart attack.

The study was reported this week in Washington, D.C., at an American Heart Association meeting examining care and outcomes following heart attack and stroke.

"We found that one important difference between people who did and did not resume sexual activity after a heart attack was whether their doctor discussed the issue with them at hospital discharge," study researcher Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, tells WebMD.

Safety of Sex After Heart Attack

Most people can safely rekindle their sex lives within a few weeks of having an uncomplicated heart attack, as long as they feel up to it and are able to engage in other moderate activities.

But many patients fear that sex will bring on another heart attack. And even when they are not afraid, their partners often are.

But the risk is so small it could be considered negligible, Murray A. Mittleman, MD, of Harvard Medical School tells WebMD.

The chance that sex will trigger a heart attack is about two in a million in a healthy person without heart disease. In people with heart disease, that risk increases to one in 50,000, but this is still extremely low. And no increase in risk is seen in heart attack survivors who exercise regularly.

"Exercise is very important following a heart attack for all sorts of reasons, and this is one more," Mittleman says. "Exercise virtually eliminates the risk of having a heart attack associated with sexual activity."

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure