Sexual Health Concerns in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease
Sexual health concerns are common in patients with all types of cardiac disease, including patients with coronary artery disease, patients after a heart attack, those with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, and patients with chronic heart failure.1–5 In fact, approximately 60% to 90% of patients with chronic heart failure acknowledge sexual dysfunction.2 Heart patients often experience changes in their ability to engage in and enjoy a broad range of sexual activities, which can result in less frequent and less satisfying sexual experiences. Sexual health is an important quality-of-life concern for patients and their partners, and healthcare providers can often help if they are aware of the problem.
For men, the most frequently reported sexual problems include reduced sexual desire and difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection.2 Cardiovascular disease and its treatment may also affect a man’s ability to achieve orgasm. Women are more likely to experience decreased sexual desire, problems with orgasm, vaginal dryness, and pain during intercourse.1 See Table 1 for a list of common sexual problems in cardiac patients.
Unfortunately, sexual problems are often not reported and go untreated, and they may negatively affect your physical recovery, emotional well- being, and intimate partner relationships. Moreover, studies suggest that a majority of patients and their partners have questions or concerns about their sexual health.6 Often, these concerns go unexpressed and remain untreated during routine cardiac care. Therefore, the purpose of this patient page is to describe common sexual difficulties, to identify strategies to improve your sexual health, to discuss …