Relationships and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Forming a new relationship should be a time of high excitement, but for sufferers from IBD it may present problems which some find embarrassing. If you have a stoma, when do you first tell a prospective partner about it? What about abdominal scars? Painful abdominal masses may present difficulties, and loose urgent stools, or unpleasant flatulence may cause extreme embarrassment. 

These difficulties should not hold you back. You have just as much right to a rewarding supportive relationship as anyone else. The best way forward is very similar to that advised for people not suffering IBD; take things slowly and gently, and explain any problems as they arise leaving difficult ones until you believe there is sufficient trust and mutual care between you and your partner. If the relationship is going to be truly worthwhile, you will be able to sort out any difficulties together. 


Use of the oral contraceptive pill is worth taking seriously. Barrier methods are often suitable, but individual cases will vary and you should not be shy about discussing options with your doctor or IBD nurse. provides general information only and should not be regarded as a substitute for medical advice from your own doctor or healthcare provider.
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