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Younger Women May Have Sexual Problems After Heart Attack

Younger Women May Have Sexual Problems After Heart Attack

In the first year after a heart attack, younger women tend to have more sexual problems than men do, according to scientists from the University of Chicago.

Their study, published in August in JAMA Cardiology, involved data from the Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients (VIRGO) study. (AMI stands for acute myocardial infarction, the medical term for heart attack.) Participants were between the ages of 18 and 55 and were treated in hospitals in the United States and Spain.

The researchers examined the interview results of 2,802 people, who were assessed at the start of the study and again one month and one year later. Roughly two-thirds of the participants were women.

They found that 60% of the women and 45% of men who were sexually active before their heart attack reported sexual problems during the year that followed it.

For women, the most common issues were low sexual interest, problems with vaginal lubrication, and trouble with breathing.

For men, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and sexual performance anxiety were the most common complaints.

The study authors noted that women are less likely than men to receive counseling from a doctor about sexual activity after a heart attack.

If you or your partner have had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your cardiologist about resuming sexual activity. While sex is usually safe for most heart patients, it’s important to check with your doctor first. Don’t hesitate to raise the subject yourself if your doctor doesn’t.


JAMA Cardiology

Lindau, Stacy Tessler, MD, MAPP, et al.

“Sexual Activity and Function in the Year After an Acute Myocardial Infarction Among Younger Women and Men in the United States and Spain”

(Abstract. August 31, 2016)


Medical News Today

Nichols, Hannah

“Sexual problems more common among young women after heart attack”

(September 1, 2016)