Surgery and Intimacy


Surgery is sometimes necessary to treat certain conditions of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Some surgical procedures could result in an ostomy (an opening of the large intestine onto the skin of the abdominal wall) and an ostomy bag for the collection of feces. 

You may see your body differently if you have an ostomy bag. Some people experience self-consciousness and embarrassment. You may experience feeling less “sexy” or fear that the bag may dislodge or leak during sex. These feelings are normal at first, but manageable.

We know that for many people sexual activity actually increases after they have had an ostomy because their health is greatly improved after surgery. With better health comes increased sexual drive. For many couples, the presence of an ostomy is not a deterrent to a fulfilling sex life.

Back to top

Colectomy in women

For women, the removal of the large bowel and rectum (known as a total colectomy) can sometimes result in pain during intercourse (known as dyspareunia) because the removal of the rectum causes organs to re-position.

Fortunately, this is a temporary condition and pain will usually fade. Some people also find that emptying the ostomy bag prior to sex helps decrease the pain.

Back to top

In This Section

Back to IBD Journey