How to Deal with Peristomal Hernias

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By Elaine O’Rourke, Ostomy/IBD Health Mentor

Peristomal hernias are something that every ostomate should be aware of. Although a hernia can occur for a wide variety of reasons, there are some common factors to take into consideration, such as weight, age, level of fitness and other health issues.

Nurse Anita Prinz, CWOCN, is my guest in this must-watch video and we discuss hernias in detail. She shares a very informative slide show as well as showing different types of hernia belts and ostomy products that are useful if you have a hernia.

You will see and learn what hernias look like, how they form and preventive tips.

There are a great variety of hernia support belts on the market which can make a big difference. But you should be fitted/sized for your hernia belt as every body and stoma is different.

It is so important in the weeks following surgery not to lift or do anything strenuous. Even coughing can cause a hernia. Always proceed with caution especially when you are starting to exercise. If you are trying to get in shape and have not been active before surgery then you are advised to wear a hernia belt.

You might benefit from one-on-one instruction from someone such as myself who is trained and knows how to exercise safely and strengthen and engage the core with an ostomy. Hernias do not go away so you should consult your medical professionals to get more advice. Surgery can be done but be aware that hernias can reoccur.  Ask questions and be well informed.

Make sure to grab your FREE GUIDE: “3 simple ways to eliminate fears about your ostomy” by visiting Elaine’s website

Nurse Anita is available for a private consultation.

About Elaine

Elaine O’Rourke is an Ostomy/IBD Health Mentor and the creator of the program “Surviving To Thriving: Overcoming Ostomy Challenges So You Can Live a FulFilling Life”.  She is a certified Yoga Therapist & Teacher since 2003, Sound Healer, EFT & Reiki Practitioner, Recording Artist and International Retreat Leader. Her lighthearted and fun personality shines through her teachings/programs as she loves to inspire others.  She is a contributing writer to the national Phoenix Magazine and UOAA, presenter at the UOAA National Conference and speaker at Girls with Guts retreat. 

YouTube: Elaine O’Rourke Yoga, Ostomy, IBD




2 replies
  1. Elaine
    Elaine says:

    I’m trying to learn about surgical techniques as well as mesh vs non mesh.. I have a large hernia and my loop stoma is prolapsed, very similar to the photo you shared. I’m considering surgery to have a take down and hernia removal. The surgeon I consulted would not use a mesh nor robotic surgery. I’m 71 and terrified, my ostomy was an emergency surgery after kidney removal (cancer) laparoscopic surgery during which my colon was nicked and a week later it literally exploded. I hate the ostomy and the hernia is so large I don’t want to be seen in public. I would greatly appreciate any info or advice. Thank you!! Elaine

    • Caroline
      Caroline says:

      Dear Elaine: I don’t know about prolapse but I did some reading on parastomal hernia repair and came away with the impression that the mesh technique is most likely to succeed. I don’t hate my ostomy as it allows me to live without fear of cancer recurrence. And, I realized that I only have a stoma when I’m thinking about having a stoma.

      My regret is that I was not informed about the risk of parastomal hernia nor informed of early signs of one that’s just starting to develop. In retrospect, I remember noticing that my stoma was sort of tilted about three years ago. Quite honestly, the next thing I knew I had joined the grapefruit club. I only noticed it this year. I don’t have a clue if it came on slowly or if it appeared recently and suddenly. If I’d known three years ago that a hernia was forming and had gone for a consultation, I assume that dealing with it would have been simpler than an attempt to deal with my current status will be.

      As for clothing, I was hit with that even before my surgery. The wound nurse drew a circle on my abdomen to show me where the stoma would be created. I went home and tried on clothes. It was exactly where the waistband of my favorite Levi’s would apply unacceptable pressure. I called to tell her that this would not work but didn’t reach her. I reached the surgeon who said something about the muscles of the abdomen determining the placement and though I didn’t understand, I accepted the reality of it. I have only worn dresses and skirts ever since, except when visiting my high school track coach in prison, where female visitors may not wear skirts or dresses (or culottes, presumably). Having done some reading, I think there are two potential locations for a stoma, and one is somewhat less likely to allow a hernia to develop, but I am not 100% sure.

      It seems to me that best thing for someone with a parastomal hernia is a consultation with the most experienced and successful parastomal hernia repair surgeon in a reachable distance. There aren’t that many specialists; the work is usually done by a run of the mill colorectal surgeon who mainly installs stomas. I haven’t watched the video above yet. If Nurses Anita and Elaine recommend seeing a wound care nurse first, I don’t mean to contradict them with my personal opinion. I’ll watch it soon and will change my mind, if necessary.


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