Harvard Men's Health Watch

Men: talk with your doctor about resuming sex after a heart attack

In the Journals

Most men are able to resume their sex life after a heart attack, but a majority do not talk with their doctor about it, says a study published online Aug. 31, 2016, by JAMA Cardiology.

Researchers from the University of Chicago found that if physicians talk to their male patients about sexual health, function, and expectations after a heart attack, the men tend to resume sex sooner. However, without this communication, men are more likely to have sexual problems like lack of interest and erectile difficulty, which may delay returning to their normal sex lives.

Lead researcher Dr. Stacy Lindau says prior studies suggest men avoid talking with their physician about sex because they're embarrassed, and they assume that if their doctor doesn't raise the topic, it's not an issue. Before being discharged from the hospital, men should expect to have a conversation with their physician about when it's okay to resume all regular activities, including sex, says Dr. Lindau.

If the topic does not come up, she suggests men take the initiative. "They should ask not only when they can have sex, but whether there are any symptoms or warning signs to look for during sex that may require medical attention."