Is It Safe to Have Sex After a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is a dreadful experience which will make a person realise how fragile life can be and make or break the euphoria associated with living.

It will affect the mental state of a person far greater than the physical compromise with the potential for recovery by significant proportion.

Thus, a subdued mental state will consider many activities of daily living such as physical exertion including sex, as unhealthy.

It’s interesting to know that in research done among 17 married couples in which one of the pair had a recent heart attack; “a significant relationship was shown in the recovery of the patient with the spouse’s sexual comfort as well as marital satisfaction”.

Similarly, in a recent recommendation, The American Heart Association denounced the myths surrounding recovery after a heart attack by stating, “Many myths surround sex after heart attack and stroke.

The most common one is that resuming sex often causes a heart attack or stroke and sudden death. This just isn’t true.”

Does it mean that you can have sex on the following morning after a heart attack? Probably not!

The introduction to physical exertion following a significant heart attack (MI) should be a gradual process which needs supervision and guidance by professionals.

Often, following queries are made by patients on physical exertion and we will try to find answers to these queries one by one.

Heart Attack After Sex

• When to start exercising and what you should start on?

The expert recommendation is to stay put for few days before introducing yourself to mild activities such as walking. The process should be gradual and the main focus should be your comfort and as long as you are comfortable, the exercise will be safe.

• How to increase the physical exertion?

The best option for a patient recovering from a heart attack is to enrol into a cardiac rehabilitation program. The program will lead you to a gradual build up towards an optimal level of exertion which is beneficial to the heart.

How often should it be done?

You should gradually increase your exercise sessions up to 3-4 times a week of at least 20-30 minutes duration. This amount of exertion should be reached by about 3-4 months rather than within few days or weeks.

• When you should stop?

If you feel difficulty in breathing, chest pain, extreme sweating at rest, fainting or dizzy spells, leg swelling, nausea, vomiting and any other abnormality; then you should stop and refer yourself to your physician.

• When can you go back to work?

A patient can get back to their normal daily work in about 3-4 months depending on the extent of the cardiac damage as well as other complications. This is best decided by your physician.

When and how should you engage in sexual activities?

Probably one of the important questions of all and one that surrounded by many myths is the sexual activity. It has been stated that the general depression following a heart attack can reduce the sexual interest and capacity in a significant manner.

Therefore, love making and sexual engagement can be initiated as soon as you feel comfortable and this may be by about 3 – 4 weeks following a heart attack.

Also Check: Warning Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke

But, you should remember a few things in order to improve your comfort while engaging in sexual activities. These would be:

1. Choose the right time and a relaxed mood

2. Avoid having sex on a full stomach or soon after a hefty meal

3. Choose your most comfortable position; usually let the partner be on top to reduce your level of exertion.

4. Take medication, if prescribed, before such activities.

If these points are met, and if you look after your comfort, engaging in sexual activities would make you recover better as was mentioned at the beginning.

What changes should I do in my lifestyle to keep me active and healthy?

Engaging in exercises that feel comfortable to you, avoiding smoking, taking a healthy diet, practicing relaxation methods such as deep breathing and yoga, and controlling the salt and cholesterol content in the diet are some of the lifestyle measures that you need to consider.

In conclusion, physical exertion including sex is not by any means prohibited or restricted in a patient following a heart attack as long as they stay within their comfort levels.

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