15 May

Can you have sex after having a heart attack? This is a problem which concerns not only a man after his coronary but also concerns his healthy wife.

Many men have anxiety and some sexual dysfunction following a heart attack. Most of the problem is fear.

The physical exertion of having sex may cause angina and this may so inhibit a man that he develops impotence.

Others lose their libido or interest in sex as a secondary result of the depression which often follows a heart attack. This depression is usually due to a loss of one’s previous health.

Many women also have problems with sex after their husbands’ heart attacks.

This may be related to fear that the effort of sex will cause a further heart attack or even guilt that he experiences pain or has to have sex to satisfy her.

The doctor should have a full and frank discussion with the man about his sexual life following a heart attack. His wife should be present and her sexual obligations and needs considered and discussed, as well as her husband’s.

Few doctors have the insight and lack of embarrassment to be able to do this regularly and competently. Some specialists think it is the duty of the patient’s local doctor, and the family doctor may think it the specialist’s job.

Often the doctor is just too embarrassed to raise the subject directly with the patient and if the patient asks he may be fobbed off with a non-commital answer.


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