Sex is possible after heart attack, stroke, diabetes and arthritis

Trust and rely on your doctor to make recommendations on how to still have quality sex even though your health may be compromised.

According to sex researchers, many older folks are avoiding sex, and the main reason is due to medical issues.  If you are a sex-avoider and are blaming your health for not getting your groove on, well, there are possible remedies that can lay your fears to rest.

Heart Attack

After suffering a heart attack, some might fear that resuming their sex life will bring on another episode, so they refrain from it, even if they’ve been cleared by their physician.

Many heart attack survivors can restart a stalled sex life within a week to six weeks after leaving the hospital because their heart muscle has healed enough so that they can withstand the stress that’s placed on it. Those who have had bypass surgery have to wait longer to engage in sex, more like 6 to 8 weeks. If a surgical procedure is more involved additional healing time will be needed.

You should wait to have sex, however, if you have advanced heart failure, severe valve disease, uncontrolled arrhythmia, unstable angina, unstable or severe heart disease. Keep in mind, each post-heart attack scenario is different, and a doctor will advise a patient on what is best and safest for them sexually.


Having a stroke can alter how you feel mentally and physically. A stroke victim might fear having another episode if they engage in sexual activity. Studies have not shown that sexual activity can trigger a stroke!  Stroke is not usually a cause of sexual dysfunction. If there are issues with maintaining erections, vaginal lubrication or reaching orgasm, it is probably due to other medical issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease or medications.

If you are a stroke survivor, you will probably need to rebuild an intimate connection with your partner. Start by adapting to your physical changes and as your body heals progress to more challenging things. You might have to find new sexual positions and incorporate new ways of achieving satisfaction. Occupational therapists and physiotherapists can advise you on ways in which to position your body and then help you with exercises that can strengthen you.

If there are catheters involved, there are aids that can help you manage this and an incontinence nurse can also offer advice.

Talking with your mate openly and honestly about what you are feeling will also help bring you closer together. If there are communication difficulties, a speech therapist can offer you non-verbal cues strategies.

Stroke victims can be impacted by a slew of physical changes but your main objective should be getting back into your normal life routine and this includes sex. Make sure to also discuss with your doctor about how to deal with your changes.


Diabetes affects men and women differently sexually.  Menopausal women who have diabetes can experience symptoms of low blood sugar during sex so the act tends to become more of an annoyance than pleasurable. Diabetic women might also be unable to stay or become aroused and experience little or no feeling in their genitals; this includes the inability to orgasm. They also tend to have more infections like vaginal yeast infections, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder wall), vaginal dryness and urinary tract infections; all of these conditions will have a negative impact on sexual relations.

In men, diabetes can cause reduced testosterone levels which can affect their sex drive. Erectile dysfunction (ED) which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection is also a consequence of diabetes in men. Diabetes can result in nerve damage, and this affects erections. Diabetics are also often tired, and lethargy can put the kibosh on sex.

Remaining under the care of a good physician who will help you keep your blood sugar levels in check by prescribing the proper meds and advising you on healthy lifestyle changes, can resolve many of your diabetes complications and can also help get your sex life back on track.


Being diagnosed with arthritis is no picnic because it can present a number of challenges in a relationship. Arthritis sufferers are in chronic pain, and this can reduce their enjoyment of sex.

Sex will not make your arthritis worse, but it can make it physically demanding due to the discomfort that can come about with movement. Swollen joints can also make you feel less attractive and very self-conscious about having sex.

Sexual creativity and planning are key when living with chronic pain. You can experiment with sexual positions that put the least amount of pressure on sore joints. Try using strategically placed pillows to add comfort to your positions. Plan to have sex when you feel the most limber. Plan sex around your pain management meds and do so, when you receive the most pain relief. As your hand joints stiffen, sex toys like vibrators can act as a tool for fingers that aren’t as mobile or nimble. Some studies have found that vibration can reduce inflammation and pain in joints.

The bottom line is to trust and rely on your doctor to make recommendations on how to still have quality sex even though your health may be compromised.