Rehabilitation post-myocardial infarction: Sexual activity after myocardial infarction Academic Article uri icon


  • Patients undergoing coronary events have a high prevalence of sexual dysfunction. An important part of these patients usually report a lack of sexual counseling by medical staff during hospitalization for acute myocardial infarctions (MI), and after. Primary care physicians treating patients after MI will often lack appropriate knowledge on sexual rehabilitation to deal with patients' fears and lack of information. This may lead to problems in answering patients' questions, and even to avoidance in initiating discussions of this type. Shame and prejudice may be further barriers in communication. This article deals with actualized knowledge in the area of sexual rehabilitation after MI, including physiopatology, psychology, and practical recommendations. The main recommendations presented are: return to normal sexual activity usually occurs about 2-3 months after uncomplicated MI; full sexual activity may be resumed when the patient is able to walk 100 meters or climb two flights of stairs, or to walk on a treadmill at 3 MPH for three minutes, in a 5 degree angle, without chest pain, dyspnea, or EKG changes; sex doesn't have to be intercourse from the beginning and sexual activity should be resumed in steps; intercourse shouldn't be initiated until three hours after meals; using sub-lingual nitrates before intercourse may prevent intercourse-induced anginal pain; intercourse is safer with a stable partner.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000