Relationships and intimacy with a stoma - Trio Healthcare

How to feel comfortable and confident in intimate situations.

Close contact is often part of a loving relationship, and you may have wondered how you can reconnect with your partner, or meet a new one, now that you’re living with a stoma. Your body has changed, your confidence may be knocked, and, in some cases, your libido will have lowered too. Having these feelings and emotions is a completely natural part of your stoma journey and one that you need to be open and honest about. We’ve tried to cover some of the most common questions to help you enjoy intimacy once again. 

Discussing your stoma with a partner

If someone has been with you throughout your stoma surgery, they will have lived through the process with you and will probably be just as curious as you, sharing the same questions and concerns. Talk to each other and take the first intimate interaction slowly. For most couples, your stoma will soon be something you don’t think about. If you’ve met someone new, it’s best to discuss your stoma first before you get into a very intimate situation. Always remember that if a relationship breaks down it isn’t necessarily about your stoma.

 Changes to your body

Depending on the type of stoma surgery you’ve had, there may be some changes to your body that affect intercourse. Women can experience loss of sensation, pain and dryness. While men sometimes have problems with maintaining an erection and ejaculation. There are many products that can help intimate moments feel more comfortable and satisfying for you both. Ask your stoma nurse for advice. They are there to help.

Before getting intimate, make sure your stoma bag is secure and try to empty it. This will make you feel more relaxed and discreet. You may choose to wear something to cover your bag, but you don’t need to. It’s whatever you feel comfortable with. There are smaller bags available or stoma caps that can be worn instead of a larger bag.

Take it slow and build up to full intercourse. A loving relationship is about respecting each other and understanding when intimacy is appropriate. This is no different, with or without a stoma.