Sexual Health

Women can experience pelvic nerve damage as a result of ostomy surgery. Your surgeon can best explain what was done during surgery and what you can expect afterward. Damage to nerves can result in:

  • Decreased sensation in the vagina and clitoris, making arousal more challenging
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication which may result in dryness and painful intercourse
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm

Surgical scars in the rectal area may remain tender for longer periods of time than abdominal scars. The surgical scar may also involve the vagina which can result in painful intercourse.

Vaginal Dryness and Pain

Overcoming vaginal dryness will take a little planning. You can keep lubricants such as KY jelly, Astroglide, or plain vegetable oil on hand for when you have sex. Lubricating during sex will help eliminate painful intercourse. If you are dry through the day, Replens can be used on a more frequent basis. Talk to your doctor about hormone preparations such as Estring (vaginal estrogen ring), VagiFem cream, or bio-identical hormones. If you have a history of cancer, many doctors do not recommend estrogen preparations.

Proper sexual positioning can be helpful in reducing pain during sex. There might be scar tissue in the vagina itself or in the rectal area which may cause pain during intercourse.

The missionary position (man on top, woman on the bottom) can be painful as the penis is thrust toward the back of the vagina and rectum.

Face to Face Position

It might be more comfortable to assume the face-to-face position. The angle and speed of thrusting can be controlled and adjusted for comfort.

Remember, ostomy surgery has resulted in physical changes, but deep-down you are still the same person. Try to accept the new you and get on with your life!