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Is it safe to have sex after a heart attack?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Worrying about sex after a heart attack can be harder on the heart than having sex. Sex reduces stress and reducing stress (and having a great partner with whom you enjoy life) helps reduce heart-stopping belly fat. That's one reason why sex twice a week cuts your risk of heart attack in half.

So, snuggle up with your honey, find a position that's comfortable, and remember, you're doing this for your health!

After a heart attack, you may worry that you will not be able to return to a satisfying sex life with your partner. This is a common fear among heart disease patients. And unfortunately, many heart disease patients are too embarrassed to broach the topic with their cardiologist.

One of the best things you can do for your sexual health after a heart attack is talk to your cardiologist. He or she can give you guidelines for when it is safe to resume sexual activity after a heart attack. Sex affects your body like any physical exercise. Once you have been approved to resume exercise, there is no reason why you cannot also resume sexual activity. To determine if your heart can appropriately withstand exercise, your physician may have you undergo a stress test. During a stress test, you walk on a treadmill or are given medication to make your heart beat faster, as if you are exercising. Your heart activity is monitored during the test for any problems.

You may also find after a heart attack that your perception of your body has changed, that you are experiencing depression or that your libido is lower than before. This is all perfectly normal. Having a heart attack is a traumatic, life-changing event. Be patient with yourself as you recover, and discuss your fears or concerns with your partner, physician, support group or therapist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.