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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/20/2009 5:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I've been reading the forums for the past few weeks and am finding all the information very helpful. So thank you.

My boyfriend was diagnosed with UC last August, so 7 months ago. We've been together for several years. He is trying various medications and is working on his diet. He had a terrible flair-up a few weeks ago but has been okay lately. But he says that "okay" still feels kind of rotten compared to how he used to feel, before his diagnosis. He says he feels, even on good days, somewhat in pain or bloated or cramped. His father also has UC and has struggled with it for many years.

He now has a good doctor who he likes but it's all been very hard on him. Because of the changes in his diet, he has gained considerable weight and feels "old." I assure him all the time that he looks good to me, and I am trying to be helpful in all kinds of ways, including reading these forums, talking to him about medications, helping with the diet, and more.

Here is what I'm writing you about: ever since the diagnosis he has not wanted to be sexual with me. I never, ever, would have thought this would be a problem in our relationship. He says he just doesn't feel sexual. I'm not sure what to do about it. I want to be supportive, but obviously we can't go on this way forever -- it wouldn't be good for either of us, in terms of our self-esteem, our feelings of intimacy, not to mention our needs and desires.

Does anyone have any advice or ideas? Have any of you felt the way he does?


New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/20/2009 9:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I know its been driving my girlfriend crazy since January when I first started having symptoms because I've had no sex drive. Having UC takes a lot out of you and it might feel a bit awkward for him in more intimate moments. That's been my experience anyway.

Weight hasn't been an issue for me because in my teen years i weighed 250lbs but lost 100 of that before my UC kicked in right after I turned 20 a few months ago. I got as low as 130 when my symptoms were really bad and have currently been around 139-143 the past couple of weeks. I can't really help here =(.

As for the intimacy thing I know personally I do feel more "in the mood" when the day has gone pretty well and I haven't had too many speed bumps in the UC department. It sounds to me you are being a pretty good girlfriend and doing what you can to help him and being mindful of what is going on. Its a bumpy road this disease and so far I've seen so many ups and downs and I'm sure I'll run into far more.
20 years old
Diagnosed with UC 2/27/09
Azulfidine 500mg twice a day and a variety of other supplements and probiotics

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 3/20/2009 9:49 PM (GMT -6)   
From a female perspective suffering with IBD I can tell you that the disease unfortunately does affect virtually every aspect of our lives and I'm not surprised that it does for men as well...when you're having to poop a lot it can become exhausting and most if not all of us suffer with some degree of fatigue which is to be expected. During remission many feel better all around, even with their self-esteem...I don't know what advice to give you, it's so touch and go with this disease for many it's like a rollercoaster ride and sometimes even the meds can interfere mentally and physically as well (as some meds can bring on the tired's) he affectionate with you? Or is he worried that if he's even just affectionate that it would lead to intimacy and he's wanting to avoid that because he just isn't feeling well enough for it?

This is a tough one but open communication is key, he probably feels miserable that intimacy is lacking in your relationship and he's probably just hoping that it's just a short phase and that he'll be up to it soon and that you'll be patient for's hard because I feel guilty when I can't be intimate enough with my hubby, so I resorted to "quickies" with him, it's better than nothing in my veiw and he's just happy to be getting "some". That's about the only option I can offer that has accomodated both myself and hubby.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 3/20/2009 10:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I would recommend counseling as an option before you dump him. In the past I have ridiculed counseling but after I tried it I felt better for 2 reasons, one, I felt Iwas going above and beyond to help myself and it was helpfull to have someone in the room to guide the conversation in a positive way. IT really comes down how much you are willing to invest in this relationship. Communication is key, but a counselor can be very helpful when you need help communicating. As I write this I think that even the GI doctor may have some insight for the both of you, if you bring it up together. I can see how I would feel inadequate if I gained weight and did not have the energy. I think that maybe you should gently show him how much you love him with some type of act that he may enjoy with the lights out. wink wink. And remember to be upbeat, nothing negative. He will not be like this forever you know? Do not try too hard, give him some room, i he sees youare genuine he will come around. What if it was the other way around? Best of luck 2 U.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 45
   Posted 3/21/2009 8:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Respectfully, Supersaw, if you are a new comer to UC, you may not have seen the worst of flair-ups yet. Although I certainly hope you don't! But, most of us veteran UC patients ( me, since '98) will attest that severe, prolonged and re-occuring flair-ups will effect your performance and stamina on any level. I'm a 48 year old, atheletic , active, married father and husband. I can tell you when I'm in a flair-up - I'm not the bucking bronko in the bedroom I once was...after my GI syptoms calm down - all is completly normal.
Hope this helps a little, the 'down time' varies from patient to patient obviously. Best of luck.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 3/21/2009 11:05 AM (GMT -6)   
When I'm flaring badly I can't even roll over in bed without causing a spasm or feelings of urgency. So sex is pretty iffy. And it's hard to feel sexy when you are bloated or depressed about weight gain.
But I always appreciate some affection. My hubby will just stroke my arm and hand, it doesn't make me feel pressured but relaxes me all over, which is the first thing I need...
Keep trying!
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering. Asacol/5ASA 6x400 mg maintenance for 20+ years; use prednisone & Rowasa for flares. 
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Food sensitivity test showed wheat/gluten, other intolerances; eliminated all wheat/gluten from my diet. Probiotics (Ultimate Flora, 50 billion), trying Curamin. 
Flaring, seasonal? or supplements too harsh? Back on prednisone, down to 10 mg. Waiting for insurance decison on Humira... 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2105
   Posted 3/21/2009 11:34 AM (GMT -6)   
supersaw said...
do you think for your men its really the disease, or a mental feeling of inadequacy?

I'll just delete my remark so a mod doesn't have to.

You really have no idea do you?
Proctitis DX 1999, Pancolitis DX 2008
Lialda 1 day
Golimumab study (100mg every 4 weeks)
Vitamin E Enemas as needed

Post Edited (Dr-A) : 3/21/2009 10:37:03 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 679
   Posted 3/21/2009 5:32 PM (GMT -6)   

I have a feeling that UC affects a lot of men where their sex drive is concerned. It definitely affected me and I have never had that problem before, I went from an extremely high sex drive to one that was almost non-existent. What's worse is that I tried lots of stuff (blue pills, etc. lol) to remedy the situation and nothing helped...yes, there were some embarrassing moments with the wife...sigh.

I have always felt there is a connection between candida overgrowth and UC and for me it's true...tests have shown this in my case. When I observed a strict candida elimination diet while taking anti-fungals, I noticed an increase in energy and a decrease in UC symptoms like joint pain, etc. My twinkie started to function like the days of old...but the key is, always (well, almost always) stick to the diet and the anti-fungals.

if you want to know more, email me and I will tell you what works for me.

Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis January 2007
Meds: Mesaamaline (sp) Retention Enemas, herbal meds in the search to regain full health.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 3/21/2009 6:10 PM (GMT -6)   
To OP: Be patient with your boyfriend. My recent flare was at a real low for 2 months, and cramping and urgency prevented me from having any type of drive. I know my girlfriend was getting sick of it, which caused a lot of tension. But the minute I pulled out of the flare, everything came back. Not that I can speak for your boyfriend, but I'd wager a bet that he wants to be intimate. It's just that this disease won't leave him alone long enough.
Diagnosed '93. 
Asacol, Prednisone, Remicade, Imuran

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 153
   Posted 3/21/2009 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   
I can totally identify with the low sex drive. I've been fighting this flare since last June, and it really took a toll on all aspects of my life - including my sex drive. It was non-existant most of the time. As I started feeling better, my sex drive would get better. I know the low sex drive bothered my boyfriend a lot. He took it very personal, even though i assured him that it was not him at all. I'm sure it was a combination of the meds, the fatigue, and overall just feeling poorly. The last thing I wanted to do was have sex when I was all bloated and going to the bathroom more than anything. What if I had to stop in the middle and run to the bathroom? Or what if I let some gas go during the act? Or what if my stomach made those wonderful gurgling noises? Not to mention being in pain and just being exhausted....

Give him some time. Be supportive and assure him that you understand. Be affectionate, but let him make the call about being intimate. He'll come around once he's feeling better.

Good luck!
Diagnosed w/IBS: Oct. 2006
Diagnosed w/UC: Jan. 2007 (proctitis), July 2008 (pancolitis)
Medications: Canasa (helped the first flare when it was just proctitis); Rowasa enemas (did not help as the following colonoscopy confirmed pancolitis); Lialda (2 pills in the morning, 2 pills in the evening, soon to be 2 pills in the morning only once I'm off steriods); Prednisone; Protonix (only took while on prednisone); Remicade infusions, started at 5mg/kg, increased in March to 7.5mg/kg (started Aug 2008 - 6 infusions so far, next infusion on 4/30 continuing every 8 weeks); Zyrtec-D (for allergies); Toprol (a generic form, 25 mg, for a rapid heart rate)
Supplements: Women's One-a-day multi-vitamin; Super B-complex w/vitamin C, Iron supplements, Omega-3 Fish Oil (coated, not sure how much except one soft-gel daily), Aloe Vera supplement (currently taking one daily, will increase to two soon)
Diet: Spinach and Sunflower seed butter diet (starting 3/22/09)
Current Status: Reached remission for a few weeks in October 2008, but symptoms returned after I allowed myself to enjoy wine again.... gave up wine and have not been in full remission again yet. 

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/22/2009 11:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all these great responses. I knew it had to be a problem for more people than just him.
Frankly, just hearing from other people that it's been a problem for them is kind of relieving.

I think even when he's feeling a little better, he's so freaked out about where things have been lately with us sexually that he's having a hard time, since it's such a change from before the diagnosis. It's a cycle we're going to have to break somehow. But, yeah, like some of you said, that's not going to happen with me pushing him.

Also I can imagine that it must have been very hard for him to learn that he has a chronic disease, it must make him re-see himself in all kinds of ways. It's been a major readjustment. (And knowing him, it probably makes him think of the fact that he's going to die one day, as well, like that his body is going to break down on him. He's a pretty morbid guy.) I think maybe he isn't dealing with that on an emotional level and maybe it's coming out in this way instead. At least I hope that's what it is!

Anyway, thank for all these good comments. I appreciate it very much.
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