Sex and relationships < BACK

When is it safe to have sex following surgery? More info

Allow time to recover your strength and for you both to feel confident and comfortable. Promote intimacy by touching, holding and kissing. Remember - intimacy need not involve sexual intercourse. Find the most comfortable position and experiment with different positions.

How can I disguise my bag when I’m with my partner?More info
Experiment with smaller, more discreet pouches, if appropriate. Experiment with sexy underwear and with scarves/cummerbunds to support the bag. Be adventurous and innovative. Sexy/satin bag covers are available. Maintain your sense of humour. Don’t forget the obvious - and empty or change the bag before sexual activity. For ileostomists, there are gelling tablets/solidifying agents that can be used if output is watery.
Will the appliance be obvious under my clothes?More info
No. There is usually no need to make major adjustments to clothing. Empty/change bags regularly - and always before going out or going to bed.
Most closed and drainable appliances have an integral filter to avoid ballooning. If there is a fear of smells and odours, it can be helped by the use of ostomy deodorants.
When should I tell a prospective partner about my surgery and stoma?More info
When the time feels right, and before you initiate intimacy. Get to know the person first - and don’t rush. Don’t blame a rejection on the fact that you have a stoma. Rejection happens to everyone and is always painful.
What about contraception? More info
Inform your family planning clinic that you have a stoma. For ileostomists, some contraceptive pills may not give adequate protection. The coil may not be an option. It may be necessary to use a barrier method, especially if output is high (ileostomists) or a tummy upset is present.
Can I get pregnant with a stoma?More info
Yes, you can. It may be necessary to alter the template of your bag as pregnancy progresses.
When should I consider having an internal ileo anal pouch formation?More info
Female ileostomists considering ileo anal pouch formation may be advised to have their families first, if appropriate. Discuss timing with your surgeon.
Will surgery affect my sexual function?More info
Everyone is different. Some men may find it difficult to get or maintain an
erection. Women may experience discomfort during sex. Finding new positions can help.
Sex and relationships booklet More info

Take a look at our digital booklet about sex and relationship advice for ostomists — "Sex and relationships." Just click on the image to the right.