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Let’s Talk About It: Sex with an Ostomy Bag

By Hayley | @thegirlwithgutsonfire | April 19, 2018

Let’s Talk About It: Sex with an Ostomy Bag


Having sex or being intimate with someone for the first time with an ostomy bag can be a daunting experience. I’ve been with my husband for nearly 11 years, and although he has been so understanding and supportive, I was more worried about being intimate with him for the first time then my first ever time!


There is loads of information and advice available before and after surgery about living with an ostomy, and a lot more people are comfortable sharing their life with a bag on social media, but sex isn’t really talked about and seems to be a taboo subject, and some may feel uncomfortable asking for advice.


So I thought I’d answer some questions and share my experience about having sex with an ostomy bag.

Let's Talk About it - By Hayley

•Can you still have sex?


YES! Having a ostomy does not prevent you having a happy and healthy sex life.


•Does the bag get in the way?


No, at first It did, but I think it was more me thinking it was, but after a while I forgot about it, and now I don’t even think about it!


Having a empty bag helps and there are many types of underwear or waist wraps that can be worn during sex if you are not comfortable having your bag on show that keeps your bag out the way, and most ostomy companies have mini bags, and some bags (like the SenSura Mio from Coloplast) can be folded up.


•Can you smell your bag during sex?


Nope, most ostomy bags have filters that prevent smell escaping. If you are still worried about smells, make sure your bag is empty and there are deodorising drops you can put in your bag.


•Does the bag make a noise?


No, but stomas have a mind of their own and have a habit of making noises at the most inappropriate moments (well mine does!). Again underwear / waist wraps can help muffle any noise. Stomas are more active after you have eaten, so if you are worried avoid having a large meal 1 - 2 hours before if you can!


•Does it hurt, feel uncomfortable or any different then before? Are there any positions you should avoid?


For me it didn’t feel any different and was in no way painful, but some positions can be uncomfortable for those who have had their large intestine and rectum removed.


• Could the bag come off?


No, but in saying that bags can unstick and cause leaks during every day activity’s. You can get flange (I hate that word, fllllaaaangggee eww) / base plate extensions that give a little more security. Again you can get underwear and waist wraps that helps secure everything.


•How soon after surgery can you have sex?


I think this varies on what type of surgery you had (keyhole vs open), why you had surgery, further treatments ect ect so I’d check with a stoma nurse or dr first.

For me by the time I’d recovered and felt comfortable it was 2/3 months after my surgery (I had surgery done via keyhole).


•Is it normal to not have a sex drive or be interested in having sex?


Yes!! This is a common problem for people with a chronic illness and can be caused by a number of things: the disease itself, medications, procedures and our self confidence about our bodies. I’ve tried having sex when not being interested and it just ended up being awkward and uncomfortable for the both of us.


The most important thing is to be honest with your partner. Explain why you are not interested in having sex (because of pain, tiredness, feeling self conscious about the bag). Your partner may not realise how you feel and may feel that it is them that is doing something wrong, or that you are no longer attracted to them. Being intimate does not mean only having full blown sex, you can start with just cuddling, kissing and foreplay.


Hayley is 29 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2011 and had surgery for a loop ileostomy on November 2017. She adores her job as a veterinary nurse and enjoys going on walks and spending time with her friends and family.


Hayley

Instagram: @thegirlwithgutsonfire

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