Parastomal Hernias

Parastomal Hernias

Most of us have heard of hernias before.

A hernia is simply a rip or tear in muscle tissue that causes a portion of the abdomen to bulge through. It can be painful and debilitating. Sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting, bending, even walking can bring on hernia pain!

People who have ostomies, like everyone else, can suffer hernias, but ostomies can also produce a special type of hernia called a Parastomal Hernia.

As the name suggests, parastomal hernias are hernias of the stoma.

Since the stoma actually passes through the abdomen it can weaken the muscles in the abdominal wall. Weakening the integrity of the muscle wall can cause the intestine to bulge producing a parastomal or stoma hernia.

And while it may not be painful, it can be unnerving and uncomfortable as well as difficult to care for.

Stoma hernias are actually quite common for ostomates, and are one of the most frequent late complications of an ostomy surgery, estimated to occur in 10 – 25% of patients.

Lots of things can cause a stoma hernia from coughing and sneezing to obesity and even progressive cancers.

In some cases, surgery is the best course of action, and your physician may suggest a surgical option for you.

In other cases though, conservative management may be the best way to treat your stoma hernia. Treatment may include:

  • Avoidance of heavy lifting or strenuous activities
  • The fitting of a support belt or garment to prevent the hernia from becoming larger
  • Monitoring of pain and output to ensure the bowel hasn’t become twisted or blocked, which can happen in rare cases
  • Increased fluid intake to help the output move through the narrowed area of bowel
  • Consulting with a stoma care provider to see whether or not your appliance needs a different shape template

To prevent a hernia from occurring in the first place, consider wearing a support belt post-op and whenever engaging in exercise, heavy lifting, gardening or any other activities that put stress on your abdominal wall.

Parastomal hernias happen, but when they do there are things you can do to keep your hernia in check. For more information, speak to our ostomy experts at Cooper Medical Supplies. We can provide you the information and supplies you need.