For patients / Lifestyle Modification

Sexual activity

Following a heart attack, heart surgery or any other complication, it is normal to be uncertain or anxious about sexual activity. However having had a heart attack is not a reason to neglect your sexual life.

Can sexual activity trigger a new heart attack?

This is very rare. Contrary to the popular belief, sexual activity is not very demanding for the heart. In terms of efforts, it equals climbing 2 flights of stairs, biking at 15km/h or brisk walking. Do not hesitate to discuss your sexuality with your doctor.

Advice for a safe sexual life…

  • Choose the moment when you are relaxed.

  • Choose a familiar and reassuring venue.

  • Wait 1 to 3 hours after a meal.

  • Avoid sexual intercourse under the influence of drugs, alcohol or in a very hot or cold environment.

  • If you were prescribed medications by your doctor, take them before the sexual intercourse.

  • Consult your doctor if, after sexual intercourse, you have heart palpitations that last 15 minutes or more, extreme fatigue and/or drowsiness all day.

 

It is possible that following a heart attack, the perception of your body may change. You can use pillows or any other object for support.

Sources:

Rerkpattanapipat, P., M. S. Stanek, et al. (2001). "Sex and the heart: what is the role of the cardiologist?" Eur Heart J 22(3): 201-208.