How will the surgery affect my sex life?
Intimacy following ostomy surgery very much depends on the nature of the operation you've had. For instance temporary or permanent impotence and/or discomfort could be the result if you have had your rectum or bladder removed, although most men have no problems reaching orgasm.
If you experience impotence you should contact your Stomal Therapy Nurse – there are several options that could help with this problem. It is important to try and talk openly with your partner about the changes, even if you are feeling self-conscious.
Try not to shy away from talking to your Stomal Therapy Nurse, who is most likely used to discussing such issues and should be able to help you in many ways, both with advice and with accessories.
Is there anything I should avoid altogether?
As a general rule you should talk with your Healthcare Professional about any types sexual activity you should avoid.
Depending on the reason for your surgery you might need to avoid anal intercourse. If you are a woman and have had vaginal reconstructive surgery, you will need your Healthcare Professional to OK resuming vaginal intercourse.
How can I avoid pain during intercourse?
While it can help to experiment with sexual positions that shift weight away from your stoma, supporting yourself with a pillow, and the use of sexual lubricants, the most important tip is to talk openly with your partner about these changes, and to try not to feel self-conscious because of the operation.
Also remember that there are other ways of having sex than intercourse (e.g. outside stimulation).
What to do with my bag?
Firstly, keeping the ostomy bag clean and empty is a good idea. You may want to put a new bag on beforehand, and there are several good options if you'd like to use a smaller one.
Some people switch to an ostomy minicap. Other people may switch to a smaller mini-pouch or a closed-end pouch. All of these choices are smaller, less bulky and more discreet.
What can I wear to feel more confident?
Men might consider wearing a tank top that covers the pouch or a cummerbund-type garment to help secure the pouch.
If you are a woman, intimate apparel such as a chemise, nighty or singlet can help you feel attractive while still covering your pouch completely. Crotch-less underwear might also be an option to provide more support for the stoma, as your body moves.
Another product option is a pouch cover, which can come in an array of different colours. This can allow you to feel more discreet.
What can I do to prevent odour?
A lubricating deodorant can help you avoid odour during intercourse.