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How can I began to date with a iliostomy if I can't accept it myself especially since mine is for life. Am I vain for thinking this way?

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G’morning , 100%brownsugar welcome to the site. No I don’t think your vain. But after a surgery such as that, it takes time. Some accept it quicker than others. It saved your life .but it’s also a mental thing , some things you will have to change, such as how you dress, watch how much you lift. But your still the same person . True your plumbing has changed. But if you don’t tell no one will know.  My advise is to do you, do things that make you feel good about you!! In time you will adjust. Hang in there!! Good luck!! Angelicamarie


I think it's important to remember that everyone struggles with accepting themselves, stoma or not. A stoma is a big adjustment. Being uncomfortable isn't vain, it's learning to embrace a change that you didn't plan for  - and the way society discusses stomas like they are the end of the world only makes it harder. Patience with yourself is the most important thing. Even if you aren't comfortable now, you'll learn over time how to be more confident in yourself again. Your attitude towards your stoma tends to shape how others feel about it. So when all else fails, fake it til you make it haha. Angelicamarie is right - keep doing whatever makes you feel good about yourself. You're coping with a drastic life change and trying to figure out how to keep moving forward; that in and of itself proves you are pretty freaking awesome already.



Go to the website "ostomysecrets" - and look for an intimacy wrap......I bought a few as my deal is also permanent and due to septic shock emergency surgery - I have alot of battle scars, muscle removed, etc......i have had mine since 2010

good luck beautiful


It is a huge change.  And at first I thought my life is over. However I feel very different now. I  irrigate and for some reason I feel I am in control of again.  But it takes time. I hope you get there. Good luck.


Hi Brown,

I don't know what situation led to your ileostomy but, for most, it is a new life.  Many of us had diseases that hampered our ability to live a comfortable life either due to cancer or conditions like UC or Chrons.  In either case, while an ileostomy may not be ideal, it is life changing and sometimes for the better.  I too, thought my social life was done when my husband passed - who would want a bag lady.  Thank heavens I found this site and the wonderful support of the Ostomates here.  Believe me there is hope in meeting others who understand life with an ileo. 

Angel and the others gave you some sound advice. And your profile says it all - that you are beautiful inside and out.  DO NOT allow an ileo define who you are.  Continue to join us on this site and stay strong.


I was thinking along similar lines after my colostomy. I learned (slowly) that women didn't care. I also realized that I wouldn't care either. My biggest concern remains the possibility of sharing a "blow out" in bed at 4 in the morning with my significant other. That truly would require committment and understanding beyond the call of duty!

I would suggest that if you are on dating sites, include that you have an ostomy. Don't make a big deal about it but get it out there. Anyone contacting you will have already seen that yet they still contacted you. That will give you a boost of confidence. 


Hi 100% Brownsugar,

I have had my ostomy for about 9 months now, do I like it no! Like yours it is with me forever. I try to think the positives out weight the negatives. For me no more urgent trips to the bathroom and I will not have to have another colonoscopy and clolon cancer is also out of the picture. I have a big gut (which I can hopefully lose) it is hard to hide my pouch. I wear a tight tank top always, lose shirts, camo shirts, black shirts, overalls or my jacket at times I do not want my pouch to be seen. I have decided to just be honest with those who are important to me and tell them about my pouch, answer their questions and show them if they want to see it. Life goes on, I know I am different now but I'm not going to let the new me hold me back when it comes to living and enjoying life. If you meet someone and they love you they will not even notice your pouch. Why worry or think about what makes us different and we can not change anyway. Good luck and keep a positive attitude you will be fine if you really think about how you would be if you did not have your pouch.



Hi 100%! Dating is over-rated. And, like sex, it can lead to marriage. Enjoy your freedom! You've been blessed with a new beginning. Remember all the pain and limitations and steroids and heartache? Gone. An ileostomy is actually liberating. You can go out again, eat again, socialize again. Start slowly. Go out with a friend. Then friends. Learn to feel comfortable in social situations. And don't pre-judge. Most people know you're NOT your ileostomy (if they even know about it at all). And IF it does bother a few along the way, then that's their problem. Wishing you only happiness...


Wow, great words of wisdom displayed here. Keep the faith in who you are, take one day at a time and keep on going.


Hi Louise,

You don't say how long you have your ostomy.   I have mine for more than 50 plus years, since I was a child of 15.   After 4 years of being sick with ulcerative colitis, out of school, in and out of hospitals,  countless numbers of experimental treatments, transfusions, medications ....I was ready to embrace anything that would get me back to a normal life.  I think my parents took it harder than I did.   Back in the old days, it wwasn't easy to find good supplies, especially for  teen, but I managed.     It wasn't always easier, but it was certainly better than the bathroom 40x a day.....    I was back in school, and adappting to all the changes...It takes time, but each ostomate figures out for him/ herself,  how to cope.  When I first dated, I chose not to tell.   If a relationship seemed to be getting serious, ( or If I thought we'd " make out)   then I explained the surgery.   For some it mattered, for others it didn't.   Eventually I became engaged to a guy who also had an ileostomy.....and although we had some good years together, the surgery  alone wasn't enough to keep us together.   But we had two children, and divorced after 24 1/2 years.   So here I am again,   nearly  70, and still dating, trying to find that one special guy.   I'm more open these days,   since time seems to be moving so fast.   Despite the ostomy, I've traeled extensively....flying, cruising, sailing, driving trips...   I swim, snorkle and have done most of the things I've wanted to do......Considering thaat I was such a sick kid,  I feel like the ostomy is my badge of survival, and I'm a walking talking miracle.   Give yourself the time to mourn the change, and then follow some of the suggestions the other ostomates suggested.   You will find support and friendship here, and just write, or post questions , and people will answer.   Best of luck.  Marsha


I hear you!  I was married for a long time thru all 9 of my surgeries (just on my gut) Now divorcing and can't seem to get past the change in my body image to put myself out there, Bad enough for a woman my age (69) slim pickins out there!



Hi there

You are absoutely not vain. It is only natural to be concerned about how we look to others and having a bag attached to your abdomen is not the norm!

I was extremely self conscious for a long time after my surgery. At the time I was a single Mum and thought no one would ever want to be with me, I felt ugly and embarassed.

Before you can even begin to date you need to feel comfortable within yourself and accept the new you. Once you reach this stage you will be ready to find someone who will love the whole you. This takes time but will happen. 

You can still look as beautiful as ever. I have learned what clothes to wear to accentuate the positives and hide the bag and nobody even knows unless I tell them. When I felt ready to start dating I was very scared at having to tell the guy about the bag. I made the decison to tell if we started to get to an intimate stage. Before that they didn't know so got to know me for me first. If we had a connection and decided to take it further the discussion about the bag then came naturally. I have never been rejected because of it. I dated a few guys, got married (and divorced). Dated again and now with the most supportive partner who has absolutely no issues with seeing my bag.

I won't lie - it is a hard journey. Remember everyone has something about their body they don't like. We are all differnt shapes and sizes and no one is perfect. If you are confident in yourself and proud of how you look your beauty and self confidence will shine through

Good luck  :)

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