What is a hernia?
A hernia is a weakness in the wall of the abdomen that allows the contents to bulge out forming a lump or swelling otherwise described as an abnormal lump that appears in abdominal wall.
If the weakness occurs where the stoma is attached to the muscle wall causing a swelling around the stoma, this is called a Parastomal Hernia.
What may cause a hernia?
A hernia can have many causes, these include: weight (overweight), lifting (and this is any lifting not just that of heavy objects) and even steroid drugs as these can all make the abdominal muscles weaker. Where there is then a weakness in the abdominal wall (such as the formation of a Stoma or any disruption to the muscle wall or abdominal structure through a procedure) this weakened area when combined with the weight of the intestine behind accentuated by any strain put upon the area by way of via any activity and the associated strain/pressure can cause a ‘pushing out’ behind abdominal wall again which can cause this/a bump in the skin or ‘hernia’.
These can either suddenly appear or be gradual in their formation are varied in size and can also increase as time passes as well. If a there is a stoma this a hernia may affect its’ size and position also. This can create further challenges for the attachment of a pouch if the skin surrounding the stoma as the area becomes reshaped or undulates. Surrounding skin is also stretched which makes it thinner and therefore more prone to breaking down which can often result in sores or a change in care regimen.
Managing a hernia
Most hernias can be managed without surgery. Support belts and appliances are the most successful aids. These are available on prescription in the UK. You will need to be measured for all support garments and then they will be ordered from the supplier.
It may be necessary to change the type of pouch you use to ensure a secure fit. Best advice is gained from a Specialist Stoma Care Nurse or supplier.
Surgery may be considered in extreme cases for eg: strangulation or obstruction or when the hernia affects the seal between the skin and appliance causing leakage. Other reasons may be if the hernia is causing a lot of pain or embarrassment to the ostomate, by being visible even when fully clothed. Your surgeon will discuss this with you as there are risks involved with all surgery.
How prevent a hernia occurring
- Avoid any heavy lifting for the first three months after surgery (this includes a bag of shopping or full kettle)
- Stay healthy and keep your body weight under control
- Always talk to your surgeon or Stoma Care Nurse before beginning any exercise, and listen to your body…if it causes you discomfort…stop!
- Wear a support garment when lifting, gardening or undertaking any physical work
When should I wear support?
Research and opinion indicates that if you have a stoma there is a higher risk of hernia formation and therefore support should be considered and worn during any periods of activity. This can be during any routine activity, work or leisure but especially if anything strenuous such as lifting or exercise. Essentially whenever there is any exertion that puts any strain on the core (even a cough or cold will put pressure onto the abdominal area) which when combined with any weakness in this area can lead to herniation! If you have an existing hernia then it is suggested that support should be worn as often as possible.
Will Support Wear affect my stoma?
The ‘Fulcionel’ two way stretch material used in our support garments has been especially developed to allow your stoma to function as intended. However some Nurses or patients prefer to position the pouch outside of the garment and if this is the case then we can cut a hole in the garment to the exact size of the pouch used.
How many garments am I allowed on prescription?
This varies dependant on individual needs and your prescribing GP. The usual amount is up to 3 Support Garments per annum on prescription. Garments are also available to purchase directly from us by telephone or our website.
We advise that all of our support garments can be machine washed at a maximum 40°C and dried naturally to ensure longer lasting performance. Any Velcro should be closed during washing. For best results we suggest garments should be placed in a wash bag.
What colours are available?
Most garments are available in either Black, White or Beige
Changes in size/circumstance
It is natural for our body shape to change over a period of time and if you find that your garment no longer provides the required support, please contact our Customer Service Team to arrange a re-measure.
What service to we offer
We provide a free home fitting service which allows us to draw on our experiences, carry out an assessment and discuss which garment best suits your needs. Measuring & fitting is carried out by one of our dedicated experienced team members assigned as your ‘Support Specialist’. All of our team are DBS (formerly CRB) checked and MIA Certified
How can I purchase the garment or receive it on prescription?
Additionally, you can contact your doctor if they would be willing to write a prescription on your behalf for the support garment and send to our office directly.
How long does it take from ordering the garment to receiving it?
Direct orders of Standard garments will be delivered within 1-2 weeks of a received prescription/payment being processed. If you have ordered a bespoke garment, this can take up to a maximum of 4 weeks.
Can I have a hole cut into the garment?
We recommend you try the garment for a week or two without having a hole cut. If after this time, you feel the need to have a hole due to complications, then we do provide a hole cutting service.
What can I do if I think the garment needs to be altered?
You can use the contact form or call our Freephone number on 0800 279 2050.
Is it possible to have a made to measure garment?
Yes, these garments are measured by one of our representatives and are recommended for large hernia or prolapses. Please contact us on our Freephone number on 0800 279 2050 to arrange for your local Product Support Specialist to contact you.
Does the company provide a free home fitting service?
Yes, the company provides a home fitting service and this is for both standard and made to measure garments. Please contact us on our Freephone number on 0800 279 2050 to arrange for your local Product Support Specialist to contact you.
How much does it cost to have a home fitting?
Our home fitting service is free of charge and support garments are available on prescription.