Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack - Topic Overview
When can I have sex again?
After a heart attack, you can resume sexual activity when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity, like brisk walking, without having angina symptoms. Your doctor might tell you that if you can climb two flights of stairs without having any symptoms, you are healthy enough for sex. Or your doctor might want to do an exerciseelectrocardiogram to check the health of your heart before you have sex again.
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If you had an angioplasty, you'll wait until your incisions heal. If you had a bypass surgery, you'll wait a few weeks to let your chest heal.
What if I'm worried about resuming sex?
Some people are afraid to resume sexual activity after a heart attack. They are worried that they will have symptoms such as chest pain or will
not have enough energy for sex. They also worry about having another heart attack.
The risk of having a heart attack during sex is low. Sex is the cause of less than 1 out of 100 heart attacks.1 This risk is low if you can do moderate activity without having angina symptoms such as chest pain.
Ask your doctor about your risk. He or she can help you know when your heart is healthy enough for the level of activity involved in sex. You can also try professional
counseling to help you to understand and deal with
feelings of worry or fear.
Tips for resuming sex
When you and your partner decide to start having
sex again, it might be helpful to keep in mind the following:
Talk honestly to your partner about your concerns
Choose a time when you are relaxed and comfortable in
a place that will be free from interruptions.
Wait 1 to 3 hours
after eating a full meal so that digestion can take place.
Be aware that
anxiety on the part of either partner may
interfere with sexual arousal and performance. Talk with your doctor about any
Erection-enhancing medicine. If you take nitroglycerin or other nitrates, either
regularly or when needed for angina, do not use erection-enhancing medicines, such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil
(Levitra). Taking these medicines together can cause a drop in blood pressure,
dizziness, and fainting. But experts agree that for men with stable coronary
disease who are not taking nitroglycerin, erection-enhancing medicines are