What is a Hernia?

You may have heard the word “hernia” in the past, especially in relation to stomas. But what exactly is a hernia? Here we discuss the important questions and what you can do to prevent getting one.

What is a hernia?

Parastomal or Peristomal hernias are used interchangeably. A hernia occurs when a weakness is formed in the muscle wall, and can happen when a stoma is created. Basically, loops of the bowel can move in and out of the fatty tissue beside the ostomy.

Will I develop one?

Anywhere between seven to fifty percent of ostomates will develop hernias. Therefore, it is a very common occurrence for ostomates.

What are the signs of a hernia?

•Swelling around or near the site of your stoma
•Bulge that becomes more prominent while standing
•Feelings of discomfort and or aching around the stoma
•A noticeable change in the size and or shape of your stoma
•You experience more leaking between appliance changes
•Nausea
If you notice signs of a hernia, be sure to discuss it with a NSWOC nurse.

How can I prevent a hernia?

•Support stomach muscles with your hands when coughing or sneezing.
•Eat a well-balanced diet and monitor your weight.
•Do not lift anything over 5 lbs for the first three months after an ostomy procedure.
•Start a regular exercise regimen as instructed by your doctor.
•Consider using a hernia support belt during strenuous work or activities.

Managing a Hernia

Depending on the severity of the hernia, a health professional may recommend either a hernia support belt or surgical intervention.

This month, we celebrate Hernia Awareness Month, raising awareness for people living with hernias. Check out Nightingale’s hernia support products by clicking here.