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Heart Failure and Sexual Relationships

Heart failure can affect all aspects of your life, including your energy, desire or ability to participate in sexual intercourse. The amount of energy it requires to perform intercourse with your partner is similar to climbing about 1 or 2 flights of stairs or walking about one-half mile at a brisk pace. If you cannot perform these activities without becoming tired or short of breath, talk to your doctor before participating in sexual activity.

Keep in mind, a sexual relationship has both physical and emotional aspects. You can do the following to help foster a caring sexual relationship with your partner:

  • Talk openly with your partner.
  • Find different ways to show affection.
  • Have sex when you are rested and physically comfortable.
  • Have realistic performance expectations. You may need to modify your sexual practices to decrease the energy required.
  • Be caring, loving and honest with each other.
  • Your medications may affect arousal and sexual performance. Talk to your health care provider about your concerns.
  • Erectile dysfunction medications are generally safe for people with heart failure. As with all medications, it is important to discuss any new prescription medications with your heart failure doctor or nurse.

Reviewed: 4/2013…#12908


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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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