Open-heart bypass surgery is a very traumatic operation. Your chest is opened and blood vessels are grafted from another part of the body, like the legs, to replace the damaged vessels in the heart. This means that the inside of one or both legs will be cut open from the knee down in search of healthy veins for the heart.
The recovery from these surgical wounds, including the chest, are painful and slow. Processing this traumatic event may also take time, and for a while it will be difficult to move around.
At this stage, sex will be the last thing on your mind – but eventually it will come up again.
According to the American Heart Association, after traditional open-heart bypass surgery with no complications, it is usually safe to resume sex in 6 to 8 weeks. However, it is advisable to first discuss things with your doctor or cardiologist, before taking the plunge.
Emotional issues after cardiac surgery are very common, and sometimes lead to depression. This, combined with a measure of soreness, can make patients even less keen to partake in sexual activity. There could be poor sexual response, a lack of desire, and fears about actually resuming sexual relations.
Medications such as blood pressure lowering drugs, and antidepressant meds, may also result in low libido issues. Fortunately if patients are experiencing sexual problems due to prescribed meds, the doctor should be able to adjust the dosage, or change to a formulary which has no sexual-related side effects.
There are certain fears which may hold folk back from gradually getting into shape and rebuilding confidence in the bedroom.
If you are a partner of a cardiac operation patient, you can help get you sex life back to normal. Talking through concerns and supporting your partner during exercise, will go a long way to speeding up recovery, and getting your life in general – and of course your sex life back on track.
Being kind, gentle, and loving, helps to promote sexual intimacy more than anything else.
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