After surgery for an ostomy, whether it’s a colostomy, ileostomy, or a urostomy, patients have many questions about a plethora of items. The uncertainty that follows surgery can seem daunting, but rest assured these questions do have answers. Many ostomy patients may think that many of their common activities they did before surgery can no longer be done. While there may be some restrictions or alterations after surgery, the truth is there may be little that you can’t do. One of the biggest concerns is a return to intimacy after surgery. This may be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but by tackling this problem head-on you can have peace of mind.
An ostomy surgery can lead to many questions and moments of anxiety. How will this affect me and what can I do after my surgery?
While these questions may be bountiful, the question of physical intimacy is no doubt one of the issues ostimates face. Many patients may feel a sense of loneliness and/or rejection as well as concerns about an inability to achieve an erection, poor lubrication, and a failure to achieve orgasm according to ostomyguide.com. Women can try the At Last Naturals Wild Yam Vaginal Replenishment Gel. It uses vitamin E to restore a woman’s natural lubrication and contains no fragrances or colors. Also, the ReliaMed Lubricating Jelly can aid since it is sterile and water-based as is the ReliaMed Nycomed Fougera Surgilube Lubricating Jelly. It’s at these moments that ostimates and their partners need to be patient. Usually over time full sexual function (including sex drive) returns to normal.
Aside from anxiety issues, many ostimates may have fears about physical issues regarding a return to intimacy after an ostomy surgery. Common concerns reported by ostomyguide.com include:
Most men/women will be able to conceive or remain fertile. Artificial insemination can be an option if the ability to achieve an erection is impaired due to surgery to the urological area. The Timm Medical Osbon ErecAid Esteem Battery Operated Vacuum Therapy System can help men overcome their erectile dysfunction.
Ostimates should ensure their partner that intimacy will not damage their stoma.
After a period of healing, most ostimates find that sex can be enjoyable in multiple positions. If something is uncomfortable try something different that works for you and your partner. Try using a smaller pouch such as the Coloplast Assura One Piece Non Convex Standard Mini Cut-to-Fit Closed Pouch With Filter. It is more discrete and eliminates odor with an effective filter.
To eliminate this possibility don’t eat foods that create odors or gases and always wear a fresh pouch prior to any intimate moment. Appliance deodorants such as the Genairex Securi-T Ostomy Deodorant, and Hollister M9 Odor Eliminator Drops can work as an odor eliminator in ostomy appliances.
The key to any successful intimate relationship is communication. In order to have a successful physical relationship with someone first you must have come to grips with your ostomy yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin can help your partner immensely. As ostomy.org points out, harmony within oneself precedes harmony in a relationship While you can pick and choose who you wish to tell about your ostomy, any prospective partner in intimacy needs to be told. Let’s face it; your pouch is not something you can hide in an intimate moment. Ostomy.org also suggests that when you explain your surgery to your partner you do it in a manner that is clear and concise. Tell your partner that your surgery was necessary and won’t interfere with your everyday activities (including intimacy).
It’s an understatement that any intimate moment can be ruined by anything unhygienic. This also applies to ostimates who may be concerned about returning to intimacy after surgery. Those with an ostomy can use the ReliaMed Ostomy and Urostomy Appliance Cleaner. Just add a tablespoon to warm water and after a 20-30 minute soaking you have a clean appliance!! Another way to clean your ostomy or urostomy appliance is to use the Coloplast Alpine Fresh Appliance Cleaner. It is easy to add to appliances and can even be used on reusable leg bags. Cleaning and deodorizing your ostomy appliance can be made easier with the Arcus Afex Liquid Concentrate Cleanser. Whatever your concern is you can rest assured there is a solution to your problem. Work with your ostomy nurse or a local support group and maybe with a little trial and error intimacy can return to your everyday life
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
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