Talking To Your Partner

Relationships can be complicated. Whether you’re looking for a partner, have been dating for a few months, or married for 25 years, stoma surgery will have an impact on you and your relationships. It’s common to have some anxiety about how your partner will react to your stoma.

“Will they be repulsed or frightened?”

“Will they treat me differently after surgery?"

“How will this affect our intimacy?”

Rather than being something that builds a wall between you and those who love you, having a stoma can actually bring you closer together.

Walt and Lallah: 30 Years of Support and Honesty

After Walt had his stoma surgery, he felt unprepared for the emotional and physical implications. But his wife, Lallah, was there by his side through the worst of it, and has stayed there for the last 30 years.

Watch the video below to learn more about their amazing journey.

Intimacy and Relationships

Keep these thoughts in mind on your post-surgery journey with your partner. (You may even want to print them out and carry them with you.)

  • Your partner should love you for who you are, ostomy or not.
  • Despite any physical changes you might be going through, you are still who you’ve always been.
  • Stay positive. Remember that your surgery was a treatment for an illness that may have drastically affected your quality of life.
  • It’s quite possible your sex life will improve.
  • “Feeling sexy” is something that starts in your brain. Get comfortable and confident with your ostomy by finding which wraps and pouches feel best for you.
  • When you feel comfortable with your partner, be open and honest about your ostomy and any anxieties you may have.

Intimacy with Ostomy: Q&As

Understandably, people have a lot of questions about intimacy after stoma surgery. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.



Q. Will I be able to be sexually active with a stoma? 
A. In most cases, yes! With the right precautions and confidence, it's possible to enjoy an active sex life after the surgery. Most sexual problems after ostomy surgeries are due to anxiety, not any sort of physical issue. As long as you make yourself and your partner comfortable, you should be good to go.1


Q. Will the odour from my stoma be a “turnoff” for my partner? 
A. Modern pouches are made of odour-free materials, and there are deodorizers that help reduce ostomy-related odours. Keep your body and pouch clean, and you shouldn’t have a problem.


Q. Will surgery leave me infertile? 
A. Some stoma surgeries will cause men to stop producing sperm. A stoma should not prevent women from becoming pregnant, but nutritional support is advisable. It’s important to talk to your doctor to know what to expect based on  your personal situation.1


Q. When should I talk to my partner about my stoma?
A. Make sure you are comfortable with your stoma, and then tell your partner. Show your partner that your stoma doesn’t change who you are. However, it’s important to talk about your stoma before engaging in sexual activity.


Q. What preparations should I make before sex? 
A. These simple steps can boost your confidence:

  • Make sure your pouch is empty.
  • Consider using a smaller ostomy pouch or stoma cap.
  • Make sure your pouch is secure—reinforcing the edges with tape can help you feel more confident about it staying in place.
  • If you're concerned about your pouch's appearance, use an opaque bag or a cover.
  • Eat foods that slow down your digestion for you (such as bananas or marshmallows).






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