Having an ostomy and feeling pain during intercourse
Pain can have an impact on sexual stimulation, and after repeated attempts, the anxiety of pain might compromise the pleasure and spontaneity of your sex life. Thus it is important to find a solution to the pain you experience. Talk to your stoma nurse about the pain and your experiences, there are various analgesic gels you can use and also different exercises that may help.
If the vagina feels too tight
If the vagina feels tight, expansion might help. The simplest way to do this is by inserting a finger into the vagina. After doing so, the expansion can gradually be increased by 2 or 3 fingers. This can be done by yourself or your partner. It is also possible to buy dilatators in different sizes that can help dilate and extend the vagina. If you feel insecure doing this yourself, it is also possible for your doctor or gynaecologist to do this.
If the vagina feels dry after your ostomy operation
Suppositories, water-based lubricant or spit on a finger, might help relieve vaginal dryness. Lubricating gel can be purchased at the pharmacy. The lubricant, which preferably should be water based and without additives, is applied to the penis and area around the vaginal entry.
Increased vaginal discharge
There are different ways to solve problems with increased discharge – depending on the size of the problem. To some, a panty shield might be enough. To others it is necessary to discuss suppositories or douches. Discuss this with your doctor. It may also help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing regular exercises. Discuss this with a physical therapist. In rare cases, surgery might be necessary.
Urinary problems after ostomy surgery
If you are experiencing urinary difficulties, it is important to consult your physical therapist about rehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscles through daily exercises. If the problem is more serious, it may also be worth consulting your doctor, urologist or gynaecologist for an examination.
When using the toilet take your time to empty the bladder. It is also important to remember, that the bladder is best emptied during relaxation and not by pushing.
Ostomates experiencing changed sensitivity of the clitoris
The nerve paths to the clitoris might be damaged, and the level of sensitivity might consequently change. It might take some people longer to reach sexual stimulation because of this. On the other hand, the area around the vaginal entry might become too sensitive, which can result in even the gentlest touch being uncomfortable or painful.
To be sexually stimulated or experiencing orgasm from other places besides the clitoris is also an option. If previously unknown, this can be trained or discovered. Try to explore yourself through masturbation.
Side affects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy
Aftercare can occasionally result in side affects that can influence your sex life. Chemotherapy can influence menstruation in such a way that it ends for a short or long period of time. Some medication can affect the desire for sexual intercourse. Radiotherapy can, depending on the radiation field, cause pain and irritation of the vaginal mucosa. Scar formation might occur after radiotherapy, which can lead to the vagina becoming inelastic and it might heal to the surrounding environment. It is important to consult a doctor regarding the extent of the treatment and possible consequences.