LET’S GET PERSONAL: Intimacy with an Ostomy
By Lindsay Adcock
B. Braun Medical Inc. Consultant
Everyone deserves to be loved exactly as they are, but it’s natural to be nervous about intimacy with a new ostomy. The good news is that for those who have been living with an ostomy for some time and are in a healthy relationship, many say their partners don’t mind their stoma and appliance.
When being intimate, I use the same pouch I typically wear. Initially, I covered my pouch, but my partner became used to it, so now I leave it uncovered.
I recommend telling a new partner about your ostomy in advance. It helps avoid an awkward situation and can help develop trust. If you find yourself in a relationship where your partner has an issue with your ostomy, you may want to rethink the relationship.
My best advice for an ostomate regarding intimacy is be confident. Your ostomy is life giving! A loving partner should adjust with you.
Three of my fellow ostomates have their own tips for intimacy:
During intimacy, I usually wear a cover over my pouch. While my husband says the appliance does not bother him, I feel more comfortable with the cover on.
I use a mini-pouch with a filter sticker and an ostomy band for intimacy. I always inform my partner in advance about my ostomy. My current partner has become acclimated to my colostomy, and she is very open-minded. She is an amputee (right leg) and I am a paraplegic with an ostomy. So far, it has been a pleasant “ordeal” for both of us. We laugh at ourselves and get creative, as you can imagine!
Intimacy is a big deal for my wife and me, but I was so sick before my surgery that intimacy really was not an option. We both were worried that having “a bag of poop” on my side would hinder spontaneity and romance. However, once I was feeling better after my surgery, my ostomy allowed us to be intimate again. I remember asking my wife if the bag bothered her, and she would reply, “Absolutely not! I love your bag because it kept you here!” I look at my ostomy as a gift and know that my life situation could be worse.
As for logistics, I wear a stealth belt every day and some nights, and I sometimes wear a simple ostomy wrap at night. Other times, I go “ostomy cover commando” and wear no cover of any kind. Each ostomate’s personal situation is different, and so will his or her approach to intimacy.
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Editor’s note: This educational article is from one of our digital sponsors, B.Braun. Sponsor support helps to maintain our website www.ostomy.org and the free trusted resources of UOAA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.