Talking to your partner
Telling your partner about your IBD
When striving for open communication with your partner, it's important to tell him or her about your IBD diagnosis and how it impacts your life and may influence a pregnancy. Now, we aren't saying this is easy. Disclosing something so personal can be difficult and even scary, especially if you don't know how your partner will react. But if trying to conceive, it's only fair that your partner knows your situation fully in order to best support you and your unborn child. This is necessary to maintain the intimacy and trust formed between you.
Here are a few points to keep in mind regarding this conversation:
- Your attitude about your disease will help shape the attitude of those around you.
- To shape the perception of others, radiate self-confidence and self-awareness when discussing how the disease affects you.
- Sharing information about the disease can relieve a lot of the stress and anxiety related to dealing with it alone.
- A relationship can often flourish after disclosure.
Your partner's reaction
It's also important to remember that while you may be the one who is diagnosed, your partner is also affected. Sometimes partners can feel helpless, shut out or even selfish. You and your partner may have similar feelings about the disease but could approach these emotions differently, which can cause conflict.
IBD's impact on sexuality
Male vs. female concerns
IBD sexuality concerns tend to be gender specific. Women are primarily concerned with body image, feeling alone, having children and physical attractiveness. Women also report decreased sexual desire and satisfaction compared to men after diagnosis.
What can I do?
IBD surgery's impact on sexuality
Though many worry about how surgery will impact their sex life, it usually helps. It's been shown that sexual desire in both men and women remains the same after IBD surgery as it did before, and most patients resumed sexual activity soon after surgery.