Preventing Parastomal Hernias

Ostomy Care During Physical Activity – Preventing A Parastomal Hernia

When a stoma is surgically formed, there is potential for a weak spot to form in the abdominal wall. This can lead to the formation of a parastomal hernia in which the bowel may bulge through the abdominal wall to the subcutaneous tissue. This is a common concern in patients after surgery, especially for those who want to start exercising again. A parastomal hernia can have a significant impact on a patient’s mental health and self-confidence, as well as comfort and pain level.

Preventing A Parastomal Hernia – How Can You Help?

According to Thompson and Trainor (2005, 2007), there are 3 main things that can help to prevent hernias. First is educating patients to ensure they are aware of the potential for developing a parastomal hernia. The second is abdominal exercises to strengthen the abdominal wall. This can be before or after surgery, but the exercises differ depending on which stage you are working on to strengthen your abdomen. Thirdly, abdominal support belts (hernia belts) can be used during heavy lifting and intense exercise for a minimum of 1 year after surgery.

Safe Practices For Returning To Exercise

Avoid heavy lifting for at least 3 months post-surgery, and make sure to speak with your stoma nurse or primary physician before returning to exercise. Practice abdominal strengthening exercises such as pelvic tilts, abdominal sit-ups, lying knee raises, and light cardio such as walks and swimming. Maintaining a good posture will strengthen your core as well. When you begin exercising, gradually increase the intensity so your body has time to adapt – do not risk pushing yourself too hard too fast.

Introduce a hernia support belt when engaging in physical activity. Hernia support belts are designed to act as compression garments, providing an additional layer of support on the stoma and abdominal wall to decrease the risk of developing a hernia. They are easy to wear and remove and great for at-home use.

Preventing A Parastomal Hernia With A Belt

Ostomy hernia belts can be found online or purchased from the pharmacy and other medical supply stores. They can be worn throughout the day or when exercising; it is up to you! If you think you may have developed a hernia, make sure you talk with your care team as soon as possible as there are more intense support garments that can be custom fit to you and your needs.

Ostomy hernia belts are not just for patients who have already developed a hernia but also for those who want an extra layer of protection to prevent a hernia from forming.

Ostomy Hernia Support Belt Manufacturers and Suppliers:

Are you a Canadian company selling ostomy hernia support belts? Comment below to get added to our list!

Additional Resources For Preventing Parastomal Hernias

If you would like more information on preventing or dealing with an existing hernia, the major ostomy manufacturers have great resources on their websites. An insightful abstract from NSWOC Canada is also included.

Find additional resources on Ostomy Canada’s website:

Ostomy Canada Webinars on Hernias and Prolapses

Ostomy Canada Webinar – Feb 2024
Featuring Rose Raizman, NSWOC
Ostomy Canada Webinar – April 2022
Featuring Leslie Heath, NSWOC

By Hannah Martin-Spencer, Ostomy Canada Marketing Team.

Hannah, a passionate 23-year-old from the Greater Toronto Area, is expanding her expertise in acupuncture at a Calgary post-secondary institution. With a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Psychology, she blends her knowledge into her new acupuncture pursuit. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 16 and unsuccessful biological drug treatments, she underwent ileostomy surgery at 20. Hannah is driven to advocate for ostomy individuals. As a new volunteer, she will support Ostomy Canada with social media and fundraising. She enjoys outdoor activities, baking, and painting in her free time. Hannah’s journey of resilience and determination, with her ostomy transformation showcasing her strength, aims to inspire and support the ostomy community.


2 Responses

  1. These are all wonderful resources. Thank you for them. I had a bowel obstruction due to cancer, and had stoma surgery 6 months ago. However not too long after, I developed a parastomal hernia to go along with it! It has not been easy. My surgeon doesn’t feel I’m a candidate for hernia repair at this time, so I take each day as it comes. The hernia affects the quality of my life every day, and is constantly on my mind. My level of confidence has been affected also. I joined a gym so I am getting the exercise I need to strengthen my abdominal muscles. The resources provided by Ostomy Canada have been very helpful. I particularly enjoy the webinars, and Leslie Heath’s presentation on hernias and prolapses was very enlightening. Thank you again, and I look forward to future publications.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and for your kind words about the resources we’ve shared. It sounds like you’ve been through a challenging journey with your health, especially dealing with the complications of a parastomal hernia after your stoma surgery. It’s admirable how you’re taking each day as it comes, despite the difficulties this hernia presents in your daily life. I’m sorry to hear that your surgeon doesn’t see hernia repair as an option at the moment. Living with such a condition can indeed be taxing, both physically and emotionally. It’s great to hear that you’ve joined a gym and are focusing on strengthening your abdominal muscles – this can be beneficial not only for your physical health but also for boosting your confidence and mental well-being. It’s encouraging to know that you’ve found the resources from Ostomy Canada helpful, particularly the webinars. Leslie Heath’s presentation on hernias and prolapses seems to have provided valuable insights for you. Your proactive approach to seeking information and support is truly inspiring.

      Please continue to look after yourself, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need more support or information. We are always here to help, and we look forward to bringing you more helpful content in the future. Stay strong and keep up the great work in managing your health and well-being.

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