Can People With Cardiac Problems Have Good Sexual Life?
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Sexual Benefits in Cardiac Patients

Published on Jul 22, 2022 and last reviewed on Dec 01, 2022   -  4 min read


Sexual life has benefits for heart patients as it reduces stress and anxiety. This article details how people with heart problems can have a good sexual life.

Sexual Benefits in Cardiac Patients


Sex is part of a healthy life. It is normal to feel concerned about having sex if a person has a heart condition. However, most people with cardiac problems can still have an active and healthy sex life. If the heart failure is mild, the doctor will suggest that sex is safe for a person's heart. But if the heart failure is more severe, the doctor will likely check the health of the patient to make sure sex is safe for them. Sex does not trigger heart issues, such as a heart attack or any other activity.

Is Sex Safer for People With Heart Problems?

In patients with heart failure, physical activity may make them tired or short of breath. Sex is also a moderate form of exercise. So it is common for people with a heart problem to worry that sex may worsen their heart condition, especially after a procedure or surgery. Medications for heart failure may reduce the sex drive. More than 50 percent of people with heart failure have less sex life or none at all because of their heart problem.

Being sexually active is essential for staying connected with the partner and maintaining a healthy quality of life. A cardiac rehabilitation plan can help to maintain a healthy sex life if a person has cardiac problems. A cardiac rehabilitation program includes counseling, education, and physical activity. It improves heart health, builds stamina after a heart event, and can reduce the risk of sex-related complications in people with heart failure.

Sex can rarely cause heart attacks, so it is good to skip sex until a doctor suggest that the heart condition is stable. It is essential to take all the medications as directed by the healthcare professionals and not skip medicine due to the fear of sexual side effects. It is also important not to use supplements or over-the-counter medicines to boost sex drive. If a heart patient experience any sexual difficulties, feel free to talk with a doctor. They can provide helpful tips on how to resume sex safely.

What Are the Factors That Contribute to Sexual Issues in a Heart Patient?

Heart problems can also increase the risk of developing sexual issues. It is because heart disease and its treatments change the way of blood flow throughout the body and may decrease the amount of blood supply to the distant areas of the body, including the genital region. If the blood flow is reduced, it can lead to sexual arousal difficulties in women and erectile dysfunction in men. Cardiovascular disease symptoms such as chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath, can also interfere with sexual performance. Having multiple chronic health conditions like diabetes, cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), etc., and the side effects of some medications might also disrupt sexual activity.

Other factors that contribute to sexual issues include:

What Are the Benefits of Sex on Heart Health?

Sex can be the best way to fight against depression caused by cardiac issues. Being intimate is very healthy as it reduces anxiety and stress, and promotes emotional well-being that contributes to a healthy heart. Many studies also show that sex can reduce stress to boost emotional health, and lowers blood pressure. In addition, intimacy with the partner in a relationship can increase bonding that can reduce the feeling of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, which have been linked to higher heart disease risk.

How to Know if an Individual Is Healthy Enough to Have Sex?

The biggest fear regarding sex for most people with cardiac problems is being worried that sex can cause a heart attack. But, usually, sexual activity does increase the heart rate. If a heart patient is able to jog or walk a mile or climb stairs without difficulty, then it is safe for them to have sex.

The possibility of having a heart attack during sex is extremely low, and it should not be a worry. As long as an individual is not experiencing symptoms, sexual activity is not a concern. However, it is good to abstain from heavy physical exertion, including sex, until consulting a doctor if a person has heart problem symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain.

  • Irregular heartbeat.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Nausea or indigestion.

How to Make Sex Easier on a Person With a Heart Issue?

Sexual activity can make a person's heart work harder. So few steps can be followed to make sex easier on persons with heart problems.

  • Take good rest before having sex.

  • Avoid sexual activity when a person is under stress, when it is very hot and humid, and just after a meal.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol for at least three hours before sex.

  • Stop and take a rest if there is trouble breathing.

  • Try other ways to be intimate that do not make the heart work so hard. These include cuddling, hugging, and kissing.

  • Stop immediately if a person has chest pain or pressure, feels lightheaded, has a fast heartbeat, or has palpitations during sex.

What Does a Person Need to Be Aware of When Diagnosed With Heart Disease?


  • It is good to get a doctor's advice before resuming sexual activity.

  • Cardiac rehabilitation and physical activity can reduce the risk of complications related to sexual activity in a heart failure patient.

  • If a woman is planning to start birth control or get pregnant, it is essential to discuss it with the doctor before making any decision.

  • If an individual is experiencing sexual dysfunction, check with a doctor to find if it is related to cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, or other factors.

  • Do not skip any drugs that could improve heart symptoms if a person feels that might impact the sex drive or function.

  • Drugs to treat erectile dysfunction are normally safe. But it should not be taken if a person is receiving nitrate therapy for heart pains due to coronary artery disease.

  • It is normally safe to use estrogen topically or vaginally inserted for the treatment of painful intercourse in post-menopausal women with cardiac diseases.


Many people with cardiac problems are afraid of resuming their sexual life because they fear worsening their heart problems. Sex can be helpful for the heart as it can reduce depression and anxiety and lowers blood pressure. If the health condition is better, with advice from the cardiologist, sexual activity can be resumed. Also, cardiac rehabilitation and physical activity can reduce the risk of complications related to sexual activity in a heart failure patient.

Last reviewed at:
01 Dec 2022  -  4 min read




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