Is it safe to have sex with heart failure?

If you live with heart failure, you know that physical activity can make you tired or out of breath. If exercising makes you feel short of breath, you may wonder if it’s safe to have sex.

Low libido and sexual difficulties in heart failure

Sex is generally a form of moderate exercise. It is usually at the same level of activity as climbing two or three flights of stairs. It is therefore not uncommon for people with heart failure to worry that sex will further harm their heart. Especially after an operation. Additionally, heart failure medications can reduce libido or cause unpleasant sexual side effects. More than half of people with heart failure say they have much less sex or none because of their heart health. Just over 3 out of 10 people report having sexual performance problems.

Rehabilitation and exercise improve the situation

It’s important to stay sexually active to maintain a healthy quality of life and stay in touch with your partner. How to achieve this in case of heart failure? Cardiac rehabilitation is a supervised program that includes counselling, education, and physical activity. It helps you improve your heart health and build endurance after a cardiac event. Cardiac rehabilitation and exercise may reduce the risk of gender-related complications in people with heart failure.

The relative risk of sexual activity on heart health

Sex is rarely the cause of heart attacks, but it’s best not to have sex until your doctor sees that your heart condition is stable. For example, you are considered to be at high risk for complications during sexual activity if you have class IV heart failure or have had heart surgery within the past two weeks.

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If intercourse is not safe for your grade and type of heart failure, kissing and touching are still acceptable. It is important to take all of your medications as directed and not to skip them for fear of sexual side effects. Also, don’t try to take herbs or over-the-counter supplements to boost your libido.

Consult a sex therapist with your partner

If you have sexual difficulties, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor. The European Society of Cardiology recommends that anyone with the disease be tested for sexual problems and given counseling as part of their rehabilitation. A visit to a sex therapist with your partner can help answer questions, build intimacy, and provide helpful advice on how to safely resume sex.


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