The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experiences of persons with stomas related to sexual function and perceptions and their expectations of the ostomy nurses who care for them.
Qualitative, phenomenological study.
SUBJECTS AND SETTING:
Fourteen persons living with an ostomy for least 2 months participated in the study. Data collection occurred at the ostomy and wound care unit at Dokuz Eylul University Hospital in Izmir, Turkey.
Data were collected using an in-depth interview method. Interviews lasted from 20 to 60 minutes and were audiotaped. These recordings were transcribed and subjected to content analysis.
Five themes emerged from the unstructured interviews: (1) changes in sexual life; (2) changes in body image; (3) fear and anxiety experienced during sexual intercourse; (4) psychological impact of sexual problems; and (5) expectations concerning sexual counseling from ostomy nurses.
Study findings suggest that persons with ostomies experience changes in their body image, along with a decrease in sexual desire. Respondents described avoiding sexual intercourse, and abstained from sleeping with their partners. Male respondents described erectile dysfunction, and female respondents reported pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia). Participants stated that they did not feel adequately informed about these problems and desired to receive more information and support from ostomy nurses regarding sexual issues. Based on these findings, we recommend that ostomy nurses provide more counseling concerning sexual function and challenges following ostomy surgery.