Relationships with a Stoma
While it's normal to feel insecure about how your ostomy changes your body, intimate encounters can be a part of your life and your partner's life. Communication and trust are at the heart of the rehabilitation process. It's comforting to know that intercourse won't hurt the stoma - and neither will you. Share your feelings with your partner and also answer his or her questions. With time and a positive attitude, you can enjoy a mutually satisfying sexual relationship.
Tips to improve your intimacy
- Trust is the key to peaceful intimacy. The more you talk with your partner about your stoma, how you feel and what you need, the stronger your bond will be.
- There is a true old saying: The way you see yourself influences the way people see you. Take time after surgery to recognize the changes your body has gone through, analyse your emotions about how you feel after the surgery, and share your feelings with your partner. You will find that your body's acceptance after surgery comes with time.
- The stoma has no nerve endings; therefore, you will not feel pain or other sensations, but you may bleed a little if you are irritated, that is, rubbed. Trying different positions can help you avoid these types of problems.
- The side-by-side position almost always works well for people who have a stoma, as the bag will lie on the side and not between you and your partner.
- Empty the pouch before initiating sexual intercourse. If you prefer, you can use a more discreet bag on this day.
- If your stoma makes you insecure during intimate moments, cover the pouch with lingerie or a pouch cover.
- If you use “the Pill,” you may have to change birth control, especially if you've had an ileostomy. Oral contraceptives are almost always not absorbed with the small intestine smaller. Talk to your doctor or stoma nurse about the best way to prevent pregnancy.
- After surgery, many women experience vaginal dryness. Try using an intimate lubricant or talk to your doctor about other options for treating vaginal dryness.
- Some men may experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction or inability to ejaculate shortly after surgery. Don't worry. This can happen frequently. Dysfunction may be related to surgery or anxiety during intimate caresses. If problems maintaining an erection persist, talk to your doctor who may be able to help.
A guide to intimacy after ostomy surgery
Although it’s normal to feel sensitive about how a stoma changes your body, fulfilling intimate encounters can still be part of your life.
Date night with an ostomy
Date night with an ostomy
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