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Sex and Your Heart - Topic Overview

Sex is part of a healthy life. And it can be safe for people who have heart problems. But some of these people may worry about having sex. Or they may have problems having sex or enjoying sex.

If you are having sexual problems, talk with your doctor. Your doctor or another health professional can give you information, support, and advice so you can enjoy sex again.

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Sex is exercise

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.

Safe return to sex

If you've just been diagnosed, had a heart attack, or had surgery on your heart, you may want to know when it will be okay to have sex again. You can ask your doctor to help you know if or when it's okay for you to have sex.

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.

Worries about sex

If you are worried 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.

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