Women’s Sexual Issues After Ostomy Surgery

After ostomy surgery, you may experience some issues that could impact your sex life. Fortunately there are solutions. Get the facts here.

Women's Sexual Issues after Ostomy Surgery

Get help with women’s sexual issues after ostomy surgery.

Depending on the kind of ostomy surgery you’ve had, you may experience issues when having sex. The good news is that some of these problems are temporary or can be minimised. You can have a normal and healthy sex life.

Some things you might experience include:

Pain during intercourse: There are several types of problems you might experience. Here are a few of the most common:

  • The perineal wound may be tender for a quite a while. This type of wound is incurred when the rectum is removed during lower bowel or rectal surgery. If you’re experiencing pain, give yourself a bit longer to heal. Also consider trying alternate sexual positions. If the pain continues, ask your doctor if reconstruction of the perineal wound is an option.
  • The space left when the colon is removed can cause the uterus to shift. This can also cause pain during intercourse. Alternate sexual positions may help.
  • Vaginal dryness can result in pain. Scar tissue from the removal of the colon or bladder can also make things uncomfortable. Try lubricating jelly or a lubricated condom. Keep in mind that dryness may be a drug side effect. Talk to your healthcare provider, especially your gynecologist or women’s health nurse practitioner about recommendations.
  • If you are undergoing further treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, this can impact your sexual desire and ability to have sex. The treatments may also negatively impact conception and pregnancy. If you experience any of these issues, consult with your healthcare provider.

Decrease in pelvic muscle strength: Having strong pelvic muscles is important for satisfying intercourse. If you experience weakness after ostomy surgery, see a physical therapist or nurse practitioner for biofeedback education and exercises that may help to locate and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

Loss of sensation: Some women find that the feeling and sensitivity of their clitoris have diminished. This may be due to nerve pathways to the clitoris becoming impaired by surgery. Talk to your healthcare professional for assistance if you experience this issue.

Your surgery may or may not impact your sex life. But, if you do run into any of these issues, seek help and guidance from your healthcare team.


Download the full pdf: Living with an Ostomy: Sex & Parenthood.