Sex life after bowel surgery

Once you’ve recovered from the operation you should be able to go back to your usual sex life. This may depend on the type of surgery you’ve had. Your doctor or specialist nurse can discuss this with you.

You may find you feel self-conscious about the change in your body’s appearance, especially if you now have a colostomy.

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 – however sometimes it is permanent. If you notice these problems, discuss them with your doctor or specialist nurse, they can offer the best advice and may refer you for a specialist assessment.

We have more information about how your sexuality and sex life may be affected by cancer treatment.

Back to Surgery explained

Who might I meet?

A team of specialists will plan your surgery. This will include a surgeon who specialises in your type of cancer.

If you have a stoma

Adjusting to a stoma takes time but most people manage well with support from their stoma care nurse.