Sex and Heart Disease: Life After Heart Attack

Sex After Heart Attack

It’s no secret that women living with heart disease worry about maintaining a normal, healthy sex life. It’s a major issue that leads to a lot of questions. Could it trigger another heart attack? Will my heart medications reduce my desire for sex? Will my partner understand my concerns?

If you’ve recently had a heart attack or been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, you may wonder when it’s safe to have sex again and if there are any special precautions you should take. 

What should I ask my health care professional?

It’s important to ask when it’s safe for you to resume sexual activity. But if your condition has stabilized, there’s good news: Sex is safe for most heart disease patients, according to a 2012 scientific statement published by the American Heart Association. 

However, this isn’t meant to suggest that you can completely forget about taking precautions. Although more research is needed on this topic for women of all ages, the biggest issues are: 

  1. Ensuring your contraceptives (birth control) are safe to use in combination with your heart medications.
  2. Whether pregnancy poses a risk to your health.   

Talk with your health care professional about your concerns

Getting your sex life back on track can be an important aspect of the road to recovery. Feeling good about yourself – and that includes enjoying the pleasure and satisfaction that come with a healthy sex life – is key to improving your quality of life. 

Yet many people with heart disease may not feel comfortable speaking openly with their health care professional about their concerns. So, if you’re shy about having these discussions, now’s the time to set the shyness aside and speak openly with your health care professional. They have been through medical school and have seen and heard everything. There’s no reason to hold back.

If you’re concerned that changes in your sex drive or function are related to your heart medications, don’t stop taking them. Your heart health should come first, and without your medications you’re putting yourself at risk. Talk to your health care professional to clear up any confusion about what’s safe and what isn’t. And they will work with you to find the best solution to any problems related to your medications.

Be open with your partner, too

If you were recently diagnosed or recovering from a heart-related incident, you’re dealing with a lot. But don’t just speak to your physician about this; it’s a good idea to be open with your partner about it as well. Perhaps you and your partner should go to counseling sessions together.

It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but being open about your concerns, risks that your health care professional has shared with you, and any changes in desire that you may have can help your partner fully understand what you’re going through. Chances are, your partner is just as concerned that the physical exertion might put you at greater risk, but is too afraid to bring it up.