Why Wear A Hernia Support Belt

Why Wear a Hernia Support Belt?

MyOstomyMar 17, '21
A hernia is a medical condition in which organs or tissue have abnormally moved locations, protruding through weaknesses in the body's structure. Often, these develop in the abdomen or groin (inguinal hernias). Hernias in the abdomen occur when the abdominal muscles that are so essential for support, movement, and organ positioning are weakened. This can happen over time or as a result of cutting through layers of muscle and connective tissue during surgeries like ostomies (parastomal hernias). The abdominal contents (intestines, fatty surrounding tissue) are displaced and bulge through the weakness in the abdominal wall, pushing on the skin. In the case of ostomies, they push through near the surgery wound before it fully heals. They are a very common medical condition, in fact, almost 50% of ostomates may develop a hernia, depending on the type of stoma..

Hernias can occur at any age and there are many potential causes:
  • improper fetal development, 
  • genetics, 
  • excess muscle strain, 
  • physical trauma, 
  • old age (as muscles shrink over time and wear and tear takes its toll)
Other contributions to hernias include added pressure from obesity, tumours/fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity, and poorly healed wounds. If you tend to do movements that increase abdominal pressure, for example: lifting heavy objects, coughing with intensity, or straining to move the bowels, a hernia support belt may be a good solution for you.

Hernia support belts are tight, belt-like bandages designed to act like a safe and effective compression garment, adding an extra layer of mechanical support and structure to reduce discomfort. By maintaining an upward and backward force on the hernia, they exert pressure on the defect to push the contents inside, minimizing symptoms. They can be worn all day but are unnecessary at night when abdominal pressure is low. The extra support they provide encourages ostomates to get back into exercise and sports, and take on heavier tasks.

Parastomal hernias can be quite significant and can affect ostomy appliance fit, causing leaks and other issues, which is why hernia belts for parastomal hernias are designed with ostomy supplies in mind. They have holes that you can put your appliance through, while still remaining stiff enough to keep pressure around the stoma where the weakened muscle is. The CUI brand of hernia belts features a pre-cut hole that is adjustable to fit around a wide range of stoma sizes.

Because of this, hernia belts are a great accessory for an ostomate's continued well-being. They are an inexpensive treatment option that is easy to wear and remove, and people will often use them as a bridge solution until they undergo hernia surgery. They are also a great long-term solution to minimize further hernia enlargement for people who might be unable to withstand surgery at all.

The optimal way to don a hernia belt is by lying down to allow gravity to assist in reducing the protrusion. The belt is then positioned directly over the hernia and wrapped tightly around the waist. It's best to be correctly fitted for your belt in order to receive the best possible support, especially if the belt is for parastomal hernias as they need to fit snugly around the base of the ostomy pouch.

Hernia belts are not just for those who already have developed hernias however, as they are a great preventative tool as well. The added pressure and reinforcement takes on some of the stress so your muscles don't have to work as hard to hold everything in the right place while helping you move. This supports the weaker areas of the abdomen, and reduces the possibility of over-exertion leading to muscle fatigue. The Unisex Anti Roll Mesh hernia belts from CUI are designed to be ideal for prevention due to their combination of moderate support and high breathability.

Sources:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12854101/
https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/managing-abdominal-hernias
https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/hernias-new-options-for-management
https://bostonhernia.com/hernia-faq/is-it-safe-to-use-a-hernia-belt-or-hernia-truss