Just can't do it

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 5/26/2011 11:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I had an ileostomy in April. My wife thinks that is is "gross". How can I possibly feel attractive anymore? I am, or was, a very pretty woman. 5'8, 118 lbs. Very, very depressed tonight.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 5/27/2011 5:33 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry your wife feels like that about it.. I think you should both consider some therapy to help you come to terms with what is a traumatic change in your lives. A stoma is not 'gross' ! It is something which can save your life and treat all sorts of life threatening and debilitating diseases and conditions... You will feel beautiful again and there are all sorts of underwear garments and clothes which can help you 'hide' it and make you feel more confident. Have a look online and make sure you speak to your doctor for support. Good luck
Sarah - 38 year old mum of 2 boys, competitive runner/triathlete, health and fitness writer

June 2010 - Peritonitis caused by perforated diverticulitis. Emergency surgery.
August 2010 - Sigmoid colectomy and temp ileostomy
October 2010 - Ileostomy reversal - but didn't go well and struggling since.
Currently - dx colonic dysmotility April 2011. Currently taking Prucalopride 2mg p/d

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/27/2011 7:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Wow, that's supportive. You will gain your confidence back, I'm 5 weeks after surgery and never felt better about myself. But it would probably take longer without the support of friends and family. I'm sure my husband thinks my stoma is gross, but he calls it a roes bud! tongue

Another UC wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2111
   Posted 5/27/2011 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear tai..........so sorry your wife is having such a difficult time with this. I do not want to criticize as everyone handles things and views things differently from one another. I'm sorry you don't have her support as this is not a choice any one person wants to make but when it becomes necessary to save your life, improve the quality of your life, end your suffering it should take on a different perspective for her.

Therapy or counseling for the both of you certainly sounds like the way to go so this situation doesn't drive a wedge into your marriage that will be too difficult to fix the longer it goes.

My husband and I were talking just yesterday about this. I was with 2 girlfriends yesterday and I was trying to offer some advice and help for her brother who just cannot accept and embrace his ileostomy. The other gal was wondering how my husband was doing and acceptance etc of this situation. She doesn't really know my husband and the type of upbeat, positive person he is and how he has always been able to be realistic and evaluate a given situation. This of course has been the saving grace in him being able to adjust and accept this.

For yourself, please make a list of all the positive things that have come about now that you have this. Hopefully whatever negatives you may come up with are far outweighed by the positives.

If your wife is willing - she should spend some time on this forum and get some insight. She is quite insulated only being exposed to it within your own household. I have found from the start of my husband's illness and suffering and eventual surgery that if I didn't have Healing Well I don't know how I honestly would have coped to all of this if I didn't have everyone's experiences to draw upon.

My heart aches when I read some of the more serious problems out there and relate the various situations to him and we are honestly grateful & feel blessed that he has come through this rather easily in comparison. Your wife needs to definitely get a greater understanding so she can better support you. Hopefully counseling or if she can take the time here like I said and maybe get an "AH HA" moment to get her to better understand. Best of luck to you. I hope you can get this to work out.
64 yr old male suffered with UC & in May 06 had a severe flare & hospitalized 6 days...various prednisone treatments leading to steroid dependence and osteopenia, 12 asacol, 200 mg Imuran, failed remicade infusions Jan-May 2010 Dependence on pain meds. Made decision 6/10 to have surgery which was on 12/17/10 (total proctocolectomy & ileostomy - unable to have the j-pouch) and no longer in pain.

Scrap Girl
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 653
   Posted 5/27/2011 8:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Sounds like good old-fashion immaturity to me. Even if that's how she felt, she doesn't have to verbalize it. Do you cover it when you are intimate? I only had my ileo for nine months but I would always wear a belly band during sex. As long as it was covered, I could still feel attractive. Keep telling yourself and remind her that without it you would be really sick. I'm no therapist but there could be some underlying issues there. Personally, I never felt like my husband had to be involved in every facet of my ileo to be a good husband. He never helped me change my appliance and never even asked to see my stoma, and that was perfectly OK with me because I could do everything by myself. He supported me in other ways. People are built differently. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 3332
   Posted 5/27/2011 9:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Have to agree with the others here, her response is not OK, after dealing w/surgery you should not have to deal with this. She can talk to her friends or a therapist or whomever or look at this list etc. if she thinks it's gross, but she shouldn't be saying it to you when it clearly bothers you so much and you are at a time when you need a lot of support. Did she see you when you were sick? Are you a lot better now? Is she grateful for that?

Do you have other people in your life who help you feel good about yourself in light of the surgery? Some therapy can be a good idea too, as others have mentioned -- it's a huge change.

Are you getting some of the benefits of surgery yet? Can you do more things, eat more foods, go more places etc? Is she included in those things? Can you focus a bit more on that?

I am fortunate that my partner has been great. When I was having insecurity, particularly around intimacy, she reminded me of how much our intimacy had been affected by my illness -- the bag is so trivial compared to being exhausted, having to run to the bathroom, having painful skin issues, being on prednisone, etc.

I am also wondering how old you are. I think it can be so much harder for younger people dealing with illness/surgery because most younger people are healthy. By the time you get to my age, most people have seen peers die of illnesses, have various kinds of disfiguring surgery, go through chemo, etc. Just offers some perspective that might be hard for you and your wife if the rest of your peers aren't dealing with serious illness, major surgery, etc.

Hope you can get through this, hope you can accept yourself, no matter what others think. Sorry it's so hard...
48 years old, female.
2004 dx indeterminate colitis. Back and forth between Crohn's and UC dx. Many drugs, minimal success.
2010-11 Crazy skin and eye complications, high fevers, bad flaring. Out of good drug options, tired of scary drugs.
Feb 2011 -- proctocolectomy with permanent ileolostomy; abscess, blood clot. Still healing, still glad for the surgery

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 314
   Posted 5/27/2011 9:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Im 26 and I've had my illiostomy for 6 years, my girlfriend had absolutely no problem with it because she knew it saved my life. She had no problem having sex I just covered it up, I actually use a women tube top lol just get them really small and it completely will cover it up. I dont feel ugly or unattractive and her being your wife you should really need her support more then anyone elses and you'd think she'd understand more then anyone else. For her to say its gross is verablizing something that doesnt need to be said, besides....shes got a terminal illieum also its just inside of her....

Bay Area Guy
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 301
   Posted 5/27/2011 5:59 PM (GMT -6)   
My wife was grossed out by my ileostomy when I had it. Fortunately for us, I only needed it for about 10 weeks and, in that time, I myself wasn't exactly feeling too terribly amorous. However, even though she was grossed out by it, she was completely supportive and was actually the one that insisted on changing the appliance when I needed it changed. I'm sorry you're going through this and agree with one of the posters from above.....a little immaturity on the part of your partner.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 130
   Posted 5/28/2011 3:04 AM (GMT -6)   
tiaeight, i feel its wrong for me to critisize your partner as i dont know her, however, when i think of all the people who have lost their partners to cancer, road accidents or other misfortune, those people would give anything to have that person back in their lives if an ostomy would achieve it, in my view your partner needs to take a step back, consider what you have been through & realise how lucky she is with a now healthier you

i do hope that in time (its only been a short while since your op) that your wife will come round to a better understanding of what your op means for both of you
UC since 1990, not a lot of fun
Qualified as ileostomate May 2010, a much happier boy now
panproctocolectomy, abdomino perineal resection, perm ileostomy
my colon may not be, but my heart is in the right place !!
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