General Information

The need for ostomy surgery can be related to many medical conditions. Whether the ostomy is temporary or permanent, your sex life can be affected. You will have a stoma after the surgery which can change the way you see yourself and your feelings about sex.

Ostomy surgery might impact sex, intimacy, and personal relationships. Reactions to the surgery often focus on fear of the unknown, especially if it comes with a cancer diagnosis. At first, recovering from surgery becomes the most important goal. Long-term survival and adjustment typically take a front seat to sex.

middle age couple embracing

An ostomy changes the way you feel about your body. From an early age, we’re  taught to eliminate urine and stool in the privacy of our bathroom. Now, you’re dealing with a “stoma” which eliminates either urine or stool into a pouch. This can be shocking and frightening. Coming to terms with this change in your body can be overwhelming.  Getting used to the stoma is a process.  It involves grieving the loss of the “old you” and accepting the “new you”. You are the same and yet different.

You need to be patient with yourself, go slow, and take time to adapt to the changes in your body,

Sex does not have to be on the top of your list. But at some point, it’s healthy to talk about the impact of your ostomy on your sexual relationship.  You can make adjustments so that sex remains an important part of your life.

Concerns about sex vary from person-to-person. For yourself, concerns can change from day-to-day.  They can depend on the type of surgery you had, the ease of caring for the ostomy, age, coping skills, support systems, and the quality of your relationship with your partner.

Discuss when to resume sex with your surgeon. Generally, you can return to sex again when your surgical incisions have healed and your overall sense of well-being has improved.