How safe is it to have sex after a heart attack?
If you have survived a heart attack, you may be a bit concerned about when you may be able to have more action in the bedroom. This is a question which many who have suffered a heart attack may have asked themselves, and even their doctors have not been able to fully give answers.
This question may not only be on the mind of someone who has suffered a heart attack, but also those who have had open-heart vascular bypass surgery, or the insertion of an arterial stent. These heart issues and concerns will usually come to the fore when the resumption of sexual activity is being considered.
Studies and research in the US have enabled experts to publish guidelines and recommendations to help doctors discuss these issues with concerned patients.
Questions and answers about resuming sex after a heart attack
You may be feeling fit after having a heart attack, and perhaps even been given the all-clear by the doctor to resume sex, but may still have a few concerns. Here are some guidelines, compiled by medical experts, to help you make an informed decision.
- How stressful is sex actually on the heart?
Answer. If you are young and healthy, the physical effort is about equivalent to climbing 2 flights of stairs. In older folk, and especially those who have heart issues, it will require more effort. But studies have shown that no matter what age or sex you are, the greatest increase in blood pressure and heart rate, is only the 15 or so seconds during orgasm.
- Is sex really safe after a heart attack?
Answer. If you have no further symptoms after a heart attack, and can pass a stress test without experiencing any pain, you may go ahead and resume action in the bedroom. Studies have indicated that less than 1% of all heart attacks happen during sexual activity.
- How soon can I resume my sex life after open-heart vascular bypass surgery?
Answer. After bypass surgery, you need to lay off until your breastbone has healed. This is usually 6 to 8 weeks – and thereafter for several weeks, do not attempt love positions which may add pressure to your chest. The good news is that if you have had a stent inserted, usually through a catheter in the groin, you only need to wait a few days until the puncture site and the bruising has subsided.
- When would sex be unsafe to resume?
Answer. If your heart condition begins to deteriorate, and you experience an accelerated heartbeat or angina pains, to avoid a disaster, it would be better to abstain from sexual relations until your condition is stabilised.
- Is there a way I can lower my risk?
Answer. Even if the risk of a heart attack during sex is general low, there are ways that you can further lower your risk. Build up your stamina by means of exercise, which will tell you more or less how much activity you can take without getting too tired. Make exercise a daily habit to keep up stamina, and stick to a healthy diet.
Research has revealed that sex, unless there are serious underlying medical reasons, does not appear to trigger a heart attack, nor increase the risk for a second one.
And the good news is that the risk does not change once you have fully recovered from a heart attack. Researchers also maintain that sex is considered a moderate physical activity, sometimes comparable to taking a brisk walk.
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