© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. While the experiences of young adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and a resultant stoma have been investigated in the USA, there is a paucity of such qualitative research in Europe. In Ireland, the voices of this patient cohort have remained remarkably silent. The purpose of this study was to achieve an understanding of the lived experience as depicted by young adults with IBD and a stoma. Purposive sampling was employed. Those with a histological diagnosis of IBD and a consequential stoma within the last 12 months were approached via a letter of invitation. Of those approached, 5 male patients aged 20–30 years agreed to participate. A qualitative approach was adopted comprising a single, detailed semi-structured interview with each of the participants. Verbatim transcripts of these interviews and associated field notes were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis methodology. Five superordinate themes emerged from the analysis: (1) Control, (2) Secrecy, (3) Patient education and support services, (4) Difficult emotions, (5) Acceptance and growth. A universal struggle to preserve autonomy of bodily function, emotions and healthcare decisions existed among participants. Participants embraced the predictability of their stoma relative to the restraints imposed on them by their erratic pre-operative bowel habit. Moreover, participants also reinforced the importance of timely patient education in the peri-operative period to limit uncertainty and distress. This study provides a unique insight into the lived experience of young adult males with IBD and a stoma and in particular provides a greater understanding of the peri-operative education requirements of this patient cohort.