Living with a parastomal hernia

Andy Fletcher

Andy Fletcher

My Parastomal hernia has been caused (I believe) by a couple of factors, lifting heavy objects too soon after surgery, and being overweight.

What is a Parastomal Hernia?

A parastomal hernia is a type of incisional hernia that allows protrusion of abdominal contents through the abdominal wall defect created during the creation of an ostomy. The formation of a Stoma is quite an invasive event – the stoma protrudes through muscle and fat layers before exiting through the abdominal wall. However, by doing so, the entire area is weakened.

In some people, this weakness can lead to the formation of a parastomal hernia.

Visible signs of the parastomal hernia may only be a very slight bulge of the skin around the area to a very large (in my case) bulge that is clearly visible even under loose fitting clothes.

What causes a parastomal hernia?

It is believed that there are several factors thought to help bring on a hernia – these are:

• Age – Advancing age and poor muscle tone could result in the formation of a hernia.
• Infection following surgery
• Increased abdominal pressure – coughing, lifting or severe sneezing can weaken the area
• Obesity – Obese people are more at risk.

A Parastomal hernia can cause abdominal pain and discomfort, and can change the shape or size of your stoma. The only cure for this is via surgery.

My Parastomal hernia has been caused (I believe) by a couple of factors, lifting heavy objects too soon after surgery, and being overweight. Yes, I can lose weight, but the damage has already been done.

As you can see from the photo, my hernia bulges out dramatically, and is steadily getting worse. I have seen the surgeon who has agreed to operate to correct. He has however also pointed out the negatives of having this operation done. The biggest is the hernia coming back again. It also comes with around a three month recovery period.

I am currently on the waiting list for the operation, and I will report back on a future blog when this happens, so I can document as I go along.

Due to my redundancy from my employer and thus new job (starting on 20th October), I will realistically have to postpone the operation for a year to safeguard my job, but fingers crossed I won’t have to!

Meet Andy

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing, Andy. Prayers for your comfort and healing. I am also living with a bulbous parastomal hernia. It hinders every movement in my life. I use a Nu-Hope hernia belt but it only helps a little. Like you said, the damage has been done. Do you have any suggestions for everyday comfort?

    • Hello, truthfully, the only thing I can suggest is loose clothing
      The looser the better as it will help take pressure away from the area.

      Also, you may find it better to empty more often so the weight of the contents does not pull on your skin.
      Hope this helps a little

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