Sex with a Stoma
Stoma and Sex
Overall, a stoma has very little effect on your ability to enjoy sex. In many cases, it has no effect at all. This is true regardless of your lifestyle before surgery and your sexual preferences. Sexuality and ostomy can be complex with the emotional pressures, the psychological pressures, and even physical pressures. Below, you will learn more about the physical considerations both right after surgery and for the duration. The emotional and psychological considerations for sex and ostomy are also discussed. If you need to know more about having sex with a stoma or if you need tips for having sex with a stoma, read on.
Physical Effects of a Stoma and Sex
If you have a new ostomate, you may find that there are a few physical challenges in the first few months after surgery. These challenges would depend on the type of surgery that you had, the type of medications that you are taking, and which part of the body will be affected. Each of these factors will have an impact on how soon you can have sex after the surgery. Most people who have anxiety about having sex after surgery start to feel better within a few months. Your body will heal over time and you can have sex the same way that you did before your surgery.
Other than physical factors, many people who have recently had ostomate surgery suffer from psychological issues including:
- Anxiety due to physical changes and fear of injury at the stoma site.
- Fears of rejection and a feeling of loneliness.
- Inability to lubricate, achieve an erection, or have an orgasm.
Sex and Intimacy Tips For Post-Op Ostomates
- If your partner has recently had an ostomy, be sure that you are supportive and patient.
- Don’t stress. Your sex drive will often come back in bits and pieces until you are ready for full function again.
- Understand that at first, sex can be painful. This is especially true if you haven’t had sex for weeks or months.
- Remember that sex is not just about penetration. Oral, petting, foreplay, exotic toys, and masturbation are all forms of sex. If you aren’t ready for penetration, these activities can help you become intimate with your partner.
An honest talk at Sex and an Ostomy
Physical Effects of the Stoma after Healing
After you have fully recovered from the surgery, your regular sexual desire and function should have returned. Also, thoughts and concerns will arise about having sex. Some of the most common concerns include:
- Fertility and the ability to have children: Most women can still have children after having an ostomy. Also, most men can conceive after having the surgery. This is true even if the man struggles to get an erection for a time after the surgery. This often occurs when the surgery has an effect on the urological system and the sexual nerve pathways. In this case, artificial insemination is a great alternative.
- Injury to the stoma: To avoid injury, make sure that you and your partner are in a position that won’t damage the stoma or cause any discomfort.
- Choosing the right sexual positions: If you recently had an ostomy, you should still be able to enjoy most positions. If you find that a position is uncomfortable or it could compromise the appliance, try something else. You should be able to find a comfortable position.
- Odor: Many people who have had an ostomy worry about the odor. This can cause psychological factors. To avoid this issue, don’t eat any foods that will create an odor or gas. Next, clean around the soma and wear a fresh pouch. Also, be sure to empty the pouch and wear a fresh, drainable pouch before having sex.
Sex Tips For Physical Issues and Ostomy
- Communication is very important. This is especially true when it comes to sex and ostomy. Be sure to communicate with your partner. Let them know that sex don’t injure your stoma and encourage them to let you know if something is making them uncomfortable.
- Remember that there should be no sex in or around the stoma and absolutely no anal sex.
- To control odor, try DEVROM internal odor control tablets. Also, you can use Hollister’s m9 Drop Deodorizer for pouches. You only need to use a little. Also, burn candles or incense.
- If time allows, try to empty the pouch ahead of time. This will ensure that everything is neat and clean beforehand.
Psychological and Emotional Effects of Having Sex after a Stoma
An ostomy can be difficult for both the patient and their partner. If you had surgery for a serious health issue such as cancer, your healthy partner will likely care for the ostomate and other bodily functions. Going through these things together before you have sex can be difficult. It can take a huge toll on intimacy. In cases like this, it can take time for you and your partner to adjust and start having a normal sex life again.
There are some psychological issues that you may go through after surgery when it comes to your sexuality. These include:
- Feeling desirable/feeling attractive: After your ostomy, you may wonder if your partner will still want to have sex with you. You may think that you no longer look the same and you may worry that your partner may not find you desirable. You may think that your partner is judging you as harshly as you are judging yourself. You should think about how you would feel if your partner were the one with the ostomy. Would you feel the same about them after the surgery as you did before? How would you react? Most people find that their partner is both understanding and sensitive to what they are going through.
- Fear of rejection and breaking the ice: If you met your partner after your surgery, you may wonder when the best time would be to tell them about your ostomy. You may not know when to tell them and how to bring it up. In this case, the sooner you talk about it, the better. When it comes to your health, you should be honest and have confidence that your partner will understand. If they don’t know what an ostomy is, be sure to explain why you had the surgery, the surgical process, and how it affects your life both mentally and physically. You should also encourage them to ask questions. In many cases, your partner will understand. If they don’t or if you are rejected, don’t take it too hard. This just may not have been the person for you.
Sex Tips For Psychological Issues and Ostomy
There are a few things that you can do to increase your confidence after your ostomy. If you are ready to become intimate with your partner, keep the following tips in mind.
- Wear a small, low-profile pouch. A stoma cap or Convatec’s Mini Pouch are great options. They are less discrete and less invasive.
- When being intimate, wear a pouch cover. Soft satin My Heart Ties or C&S Pouch Covers are great options.
- Many women find it beneficial to wear a satin slip or a camisole to bed. Most men prefer to wear a belt or some type of support over the pouch cover.
There are a few great low-profile mini-pouches on the market today:
The Mio line consists of Sensura’s latest BodyFit technology. It will conform to your body’s curves and provides a more flexible fit. The soft material feels more like clothing than an appliance. This line is relatively pricey, however, when it comes to comfort and performance, you won’t find anything better. You can keep these around for special occasions and not for daily use.
Convatec’s smallest pouch is just 5 inches and it is opaque. Also, it is very affordable.
These pouches are very popular. It is a one-piece closed pouch that can be cut to fit and conform around the stoma.
- Hollister Premier Mini Pouch: This is a 7-inch mini pouch. It is a one-piece pouch and it has a SoftFlex barrier that is very gentle on the skin.
There are some cases where your physical impairment can keep you from having sex. This is often due to your health condition and the type of surgery that you had. Certain types of colorectal cancer treatment require the removal of the nerve pathways that cause an erection. In women, certain treatments can change the shape and structure of the vagina. Each of these physical changes can limit your ability to have sex. Whether you are a partner is a straight couple or a homosexual couple, you will still deal with the same issues of having sex with a stoma. Regardless of your sexual preferences, you can face difficulties. In cases like these, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider. They can give you advice about your particular situation.