Sexual relations

Having a stoma does not mean intimacy has to come to an end.

Meaningful and fulfilling intimate encounters are possible.

Communication and trust are at the heart of the healing process. It is normal to feel sensitive about the change in your body. Share your feelings with your spouse or loved one, and respond to his or her concerns as well. Let your partner know that sexual relations will not hurt your stoma. With time, understanding, and a positive attitude, you can enjoy a mutually satisfying sexual relationship.


  • Empty your pouch before beginning sexual relations.
  • Wear a small pouch-Specialty pouches are available that are designed to be smaller and less bulky,for intimate moments.
  • Cover your pouch with specially designed underwear, lingerie, or pouch covers if you feel uneasy about your partner seeing it.


  • Remember that you may not have an orgasm the first time you have sex following surgery. But if you find that you are having continued problems maintaining an erection, call your stoma care nurse. Do not panic. More than likely, there will be a solution.

  • After surgery, many women experience vaginal dryness. Try one of the many lubricants available, or ask your doctor about a hormone cream or vaginal suppository.
  • If you use birth control, oral contraceptives may not be the best choice, especially if you have had an ileostomy or if a large portion of your small intestine was removed. In such cases, the pills are often not absorbed. Talk to your doctor about the best form of birth control for you.
  • Talk with your partner! The more you share about your stoma and how you feel, the greater the intimacy becomes between you and your partner.
  • The way you see yourself influences the way others see you. If you are accepting your body after surgery, your partner is likely to be as well.
  • If one sexual position causes you pain or trouble, try another.
  • The side-by-side position works well for people with stomas because the pouch will fall to your side and not come between you and your partner.

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