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Heart failure and intimacy: this should be considered!
People who suffer from heart failure (heart failure) feel tired and short of breath more quickly when exercising. Because sexuality is also a form of physical activity, many sufferers wonder if it is safe to have sex with heart problems. A renowned cardiologist explains the subject.
Dr. Rekha Mandad is a cardiologist at the well-known Mayo Clinic in Rochester, USA. She reports what people with heart problems and their partners should know about having sex related to heart disease.
Sex is a moderate form of physical activity
Usually sexual activity can be seen as a moderate form of physical activity. According to Mandad, sex is comparable to climbing stairs. "It is therefore not uncommon for people with heart failure to fear that sex could further damage the heart, especially after an operation or an operation," explains the cardiologist.
Heart medication dampens the sex drive
In addition, some medicines for heart failure also dampen the sex drive or cause unpleasant side effects in combination with sex, Dr. Mandad away. The expert knows from practical experience that over half of people with heart failure also have sexual problems.
A lack of sexuality can reduce the quality of life
"However, it is important to remain sexually active in order to maintain a healthy quality of life and to keep in touch with your partner," emphasizes the heart expert. How can this apparent contradiction be resolved? "Stick to your cardiac rehabilitation plan," the doctor recommends.
The focus should be on rehabilitation
The American Heart Association emphasizes that cardiac rehabilitation and proper physical activity can reduce the risk of sexual complications in people with heart failure. Research shows that participating in special cardio training programs helps increase oxygen levels and lower heart rate during sexual activity. This will not only make sex safer, but also more enjoyable.
When sex should be avoided
According to Dr. Mandad is the risk of having intercourse in heart failure, depending on the stage and type of heart failure. For example, there is a particularly high risk of class IV heart failure or one to two weeks after heart surgery. "So skip sex until your doctor says you're stable," the cardiologist said.
Don't give up medication for sex
"Take all your medication as prescribed and don't let the medication fail for fear of sexual side effects," emphasizes Mandad. The heart expert also advises against taking over-the-counter herbs or dietary supplements that aim to increase the sex drive. Instead, the inhibitions of talking to a doctor about sexual problems should be overcome.
More support for sexual problems
Both the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology are committed to improving the treatment of sexual problems that occur in combination with heart disease. In addition to rehabilitation, five-hour sex therapy also appears to help return to sexual activity more quickly after a cardiac event. (vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek