Sexual Relationships and IBD

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Sexual relationships are, for many of us, a very important part of our lives.

Even when we are not in a relationship, our sexuality usually remains a key part of who we are and how we choose to live.

If you have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis - the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) you may find that your condition can affect you in a number of ways. 

A common cause for concern, although people don’t always like to talk about it, is the potential impact of IBD on sex and sexual relationships.

This information sheet has been written for people with Crohn's or Colitis and their partners to provide information on this topic.

It looks at how common symptoms and treatments, and the feelings often associated with these, can affect the physical and emotional aspects of a sexual relationship.

It also includes some suggestions that might help you deal with any difficulties, and details of other sources of help and advice.

Many of the issues covered in this information sheet are likely to be very similar regardless of sexual orientation.

However, people with Crohn's or Colitis who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may be concerned about whether to talk to their IBD team about their sexual relationships.

Whatever your sexual orientation, you may be worried about how some treatments may affect your sexual practices. These concerns are discussed in this sheet too.

When I met my partner I was embarrassed about the scars on my stomach. But I made sure I told him about my Crohn’s and my surgery, and I encouraged him to look into it. We have been a couple for 3 years now and I can honestly say that he is not at all concerned about how my body looks. I believe it is me that is more bothered by it. He says it makes me who I am.

Marie, 49
Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1987