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Worried about having sex cause you've had a heart attack? Don't be…

by , 02 August 2013

A consensus statement by the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology has released new guidelines to help doctors give sex advice to heart attack patients. According to media reports, this is the first scientific statement with detailed guidance on resuming sex after a heart attack, stroke or other cardiac condition. And it's based on a review of medical literature. Here are some of the general precautions listed in the statement…

The new guidelines by the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology are aimed at highlighting the importance of sexual health for heart patients who often have fears that a heart attack will happen again if they resume having sex.

This anxiety is often made worse by the fact that “doctors and nurses rarely discuss sex ‘spontaneously,’ but often wait until the patient brings up questions around sex. Health care providers often are afraid to upset patients or might feel embarrassed themselves,” said Tiny Jaarsma, a professor and heart failure researcher at Sweden’s Linkoping University,The Globe and Mail reports.

The guidelines in the statement aims to correct this as it urges doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to take the lead and initiate the discussion with men and women patients of all ages and their partners.

Here are the general precautions the statement lists about resuming sex after a heart
  • Heart patients can safely resume sexual intercourse after first checking with their doctors and the answers to questions will depend on each patient’s overall health.
  • Patients with mild, stable chest pain face a low risk for a sex-triggered heart problem, whereas patients with advanced heart failure must postpone sex until their condition is stabilised.
  • Before resuming sex, make sure you can engage in moderate physical activity, such as walking briskly up two flights of stairs, without chest pain, breathlessness or other symptoms.
  • If moderate activity is too strenuous, avoid intercourse but not intimacy. Hugging and kissing may be OK.
  • Have sex in a comfortable, familiar place and avoid things that could add stress to the experience, including extramarital affairs.
  • Tell your doctor about any symptoms during sex, including chest pain, dizziness or insomnia afterward.
  • Some positions may not be safe. Heart bypass surgery patients should avoid being on top in the missionary position.

Well there you have it. Suffering a heart attack doesn’t mean you can’t have a satisfying sex life after treatment. So be sure to ask your doctor about these guidelines so you can resume having sex safely.

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