8 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing a Parastomal Hernia

Within two years of surgery to create a stoma, 50% to 78% of people will develop a parastomal hernia, making it the most frequent complication after a colostomy or other types of stomas. If you are planning to have surgery or have recently had a colostomy or ileostomy, pay close attention to these 8 ways you can reduce your risk of developing a parastomal hernia.

What Causes a Parastomal Hernia?

A stoma is an opening created on the abdomen, colon, or small bowel that allows a person to pass natural waste into a bag attached to the outside of their body. Having a stoma weakens the abdominal muscles and causes them to pull away from the stoma site, which encourages a bulging hernia to form around the stoma.

Woman sitting on the bed and touching her left side in pain at home

The early symptoms of a parastomal hernia can include trouble keeping the stoma appliance in place, bulging around the stoma especially when coughing, and pain. The hernia usually grows slowly, but eventually will become large enough to affect the individual’s quality of life. There can be pain, leakage, skin irritations, and overall discomfort as the parastomal hernia progressively worsens, which may require surgery to correct.

High Risk Factors for Developing a Parastomal Hernia

Certain factors can heighten a person’s chances to develop a parastomal hernia, including:

  • Being of an older age
  • Being overweight or obese with excess weight that is carried around the waist, hips, and stomach
  • Having a chronic health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • A prior diagnosis of cancer
  • Struggling with a respiratory disease, especially one that causes a chronic cough

Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing a Parastomal Hernia

Even though you may be facing higher risk factors as noted above, there are still ways to overcome those risks by focusing on making a few positive changes to your lifestyle.

Drop Some Pounds

This is a wise decision regardless, but especially after the creation of a stoma. The extra weight will put additional pressure on the abdominal wall that can lead to unnecessary strain on the body during regular activities. Over time, this strain can take its toll by significantly weakening the abdominal wall and making it prone to injury.

Wear Light Support Garments

Support garments can help you to not only camouflage the pouch connected by your stoma, but will also help to provide added support to the surrounding tissues. Be sure to discuss various garments and braces with Michigan Hernia Surgery to ensure that it will be a benefit to your particular case, as not every supportive device will be a perfect fit for each individual.

Strengthen Your Core

Weak muscles contribute greatly to the development of all hernias. Speak with the specialists at Michigan Hernia Surgery before beginning a new workout regimen or changing daily activities, and be sure to start out slowly in your exercises to avoid overexertion.

Stop Smoking

This factor is particularly important in preventing the development of a parastomal hernia. Smoking leads to a chronic cough, which in turn causes repeated strain on the abdominal muscles. As these tissues become overworked, damage can occur, and a parastomal hernia becomes more likely to form. Plus, eliminating smoking will help to improve any person’s life expectancy.

Be Careful When Lifting Heavy Items

If your profession necessitates frequent instances of heavy lifting, you may need to make some adjustments at work to avoid suffering a hernia. The first step is to practice the correct way to handle large objects, though excellent technique may not always be enough. Try to utilize machinery or tools such as a forklift to do the heavy lifting for you, and do not be afraid to ask your employer if it may be possible to be transferred to another department, as they will certainly not want you to risk an injury while on the job.

Stay Active

Just because you live with a stoma, does not mean you are unable to enjoy normal activities. Continue with regular tasks and hobbies around the home or community, or explore new options that you have been wanting to try. Getting up and moving around more frequently can also help accomplish the goal of maintaining a healthy weight.

Adjust Your Current Workout Routine

You may need to adjust your normal workout in order to adapt to your stoma. Consult with Michigan Hernia Surgery to determine what particular activities or exercises you should and should not do to prevent a parastomal hernia.

Improve Your Upper Body Strength

Working to keep your arm muscles strong will compensate for the weaker areas of the abdomen that have been affected by the placement of your stoma. Toning the arms can also help you to lift items more safely and avoided unnecessary pressure on the stomach muscles.

Ask Michigan Hernia Surgery for any other tips to reduce your risk of developing a parastomal hernia, and be sure to contact our office in Southeast Michigan for any needs you may have regarding surgery to repair this type of hernia.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call 248.551.9090 today!