Ostomy Canada

Why Hernia Belts Are an Essential Item for Ostomates

My Ostomy

For many ostomates, hernia support belts are a common item that provide many benefits. These items assist in the prevention and treatment of parastomal hernias and are a vital product for ostomates who wish to manage their parastomal hernia symptoms or for the purpose of prevention as well.

Parastomal Hernias

Parastomal hernias are a common problem among ostomates, with over 50% eventually developing one and happen when a part of your intestine starts to bulge out through your stoma because of the weakness in the abdominal wall. In the case of ostomies, they tend to push through near the surgery wound before it gets the chance to fully heal. This can result in potential pain and discomfort in your stoma area, bulging, and having trouble keeping stoma appliances in place and can cause potential complications such as the intestines becoming twisted or trapped in the hernia, causing strangulation. Parastomal hernias can have a variety of causes that can include obesity, infection, smoking, genetics, and malnutrition.

Hernia Belts

Hernia belts are a type of compression garment that goes around the abdomen and provides support and gently compresses the abdomen. Hernia belts designed for parastomal hernias have holes that allow for easy application of your appliance while remaining stiff enough to continue applying pressure around the stoma where the weakened muscle is.

Support & Prevention

NSWOC Canada recently published Parastomal Hernia Prevention, Assessment, and Management: Canadian Best Practice Recommendations, which states the following:

“An individual with an ostomy should be assessed to determine the type and level of support garment/belt required for prevention or management of parastomal hernia, taking into account the person’s lifestyle, activities of daily living, and personal preference.” (2023)

Hernia belts are recommended to help support a parastomal hernia and allow for easier application of a stoma appliance when you already have a parastomal hernia.

A hernia belt maintains an upward and backward force on the hernia and exerts pressure to push the contents back inside, lessening symptoms. Parastomal hernia symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes and if not severe, hernia belts can assist in supporting the parastomal hernia until these symptoms can ease. Or additionally can act as a bridge solution until they undergo hernia surgery.

Additionally, hernia belts can be used to prevent the occurrence of a parastomal hernia as well. The use of abdominal supports is reported to reduce the incidence of a parastomal hernia. As parastomal hernias being a common complication post-stoma surgery, it is a recommended best practice for ostomates to wear a hernia belt regardless of if they already have a hernia as a method of prevention.

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