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Sexual Health Often Suffers in Younger Patients Post-MI

Many younger adults experience sexual difficulties after acute myocardial infarction

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31, 2016 (HealthDay News) — After an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), many younger adults experience sexual difficulties — and women more so than men, according to research published online Aug. 31 in JAMA Cardiology.

Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data on 2,802 AMI survivors in the United States and Spain. The participants were aged 18 to 55, half over 49 years old. Two-thirds were women.

Among those who were sexually active prior to their AMI, 63.9 percent of men and 54.5 percent of women resumed having sex within one month. After one year, 94 percent of men and 91 percent of women who were sexually active before their heart attack had resumed sexual activity. Many of the study participants reported sexual function problems during the first year of follow-up, with women encountering the most issues. After one year, two out of five women (39.6 percent) reported lack of interest, while 22.3 percent had lubrication problems. More than 20 percent of men experienced erectile difficulties (21.7 percent), and nearly one in five males (18.8 percent) reported lack of interest.

“Those who experience sexual difficulties can often feel distanced from those around them, a kind of distance that is felt as shame and loneliness,” writes the author of an accompanying editorial. “When a physician creates an environment in which sexual problems can be acknowledged, normalized, and managed, that physician is helping to maintain or strengthen the couple’s relationship and stave off debilitating shame.”

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