What is a hernia?
A hernia is a weakness in the wall of the abdomen that allows the contents to bulge out forming a lump or swelling. If the weakness occurs where the stoma is attached to the muscle wall causing a swelling around the stoma, this is called a Parastomal Hernia.
What may cause a hernia?
A hernia can have many causes, these include: being overweight, lifting heavy objects and even steroid drugs, as they can make the abdominal muscles weaker.
Managing a hernia
Most hernias can be managed without surgery. Support belts and appliances are the most successful aids. These are available on prescription in the UK (excluding Scotland). Please contact us for a list of manufacturers of support garments or download the list here. You will need to be measured for all support garments and then they will be ordered from the supplier.
It may be necessary to change the type of pouch you use to ensure a secure fit. Talk to your Stoma Care Nurse or supplier for advice on this.
Surgery may be considered in extreme cases eg strangulation or obstruction or when the hernia affects the seal between the skin and appliance causing leakage. Other reasons may be if the hernia is causing a lot of pain or embarrassment to the ostomate, by being visible even when fully clothed. Your surgeon will discuss this with you as there are risks involved with all surgery.
- Avoid any heavy lifting for the first three months after surgery (this includes a bag of shopping or full kettle).
- Stay healthy and keep your body weight under control.
- Always talk to your surgeon or Stoma Care Nurse before beginning any exercise, and listen to your body…if it causes you discomfort…stop!
- Wear a support garment when lifting, gardening or undertaking any physical work.
For more information download our booklet Parastomal Hernia or go to www.hernia.org for more information.
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