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Once you’ve recovered from the operation, there’s usually no medical reason why you shouldn’t have a normal sex life again.
However, you may find that you feel self-conscious about the change in your body’s appearance, especially if you now have a colostomy. This may stop you from wanting to have sex.
Talking about your feelings may help lessen your anxieties.
Try not to feel embarrassed when you talk to your nurse or doctor about what is troubling you. They can refer you for specialist counselling if you think that would be helpful.
Sometimes the operation can cause damage to the nerves that go to the sexual organs. If this occurs, a man may not be able to have or maintain an erection, and may have problems with orgasm and ejaculation. Women may also find that their sexual function or response is affected. This may improve over time, but it’s sometimes permanent.
There are treatments available, such as sildenafil (Viagra®), that can help men get erections. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor as soon as you notice a problem, as treatment can often be more effective if started sooner.
If you have any problems, your doctor or specialist nurse will be able to discuss them with you in more detail.
We have more information on sexuality and cancer|, which you may find helpful
Content last reviewed: 1 July 2012
Next planned review: 2014
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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