Living with an ostomy is a life-changing experience that comes with its own set of challenges and adjustments. While ostomy surgery can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or colorectal cancer, it also carries the risk of complications. One such complication that ostomy patients should be aware of is a parastomal hernia.
What is a Parastomal Hernia?
A parastomal hernia occurs when a portion of the intestine or other abdominal organs bulges through the abdominal wall near the stoma site. A stoma is a surgically created opening in the abdomen through which waste products are eliminated and collected in an ostomy pouch. Parastomal hernias can vary in size and severity, and they can develop weeks, months, or even years after ostomy surgery.
Causes of Parastomal Hernias
Several factors can contribute to the development of parastomal hernias, such as weak abdominal muscles, surgical technique, coughing, lifting, or straining, or chronic constipation.
Weakness in the abdominal muscles, often due to age, obesity, or previous surgeries, can increase the risk of hernias. The way the stoma is created during surgery can influence the likelihood of a hernia. Surgeons aim to create a snug fit between the stoma and the abdominal wall, but this can be challenging. Activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure, such as heavy lifting or chronic coughing, can strain the abdominal wall and contribute to hernia formation. Lastly, persistent constipation can lead to straining during bowel movements, which can weaken the abdominal muscles.
If you’re diagnosed with a parastomal hernia, there are several treatment options.
In some cases, especially if the hernia is small and asymptomatic, your healthcare provider may recommend monitoring it without immediate intervention. A hernia support belt or binder can help provide additional support and keep the hernia from protruding further. For larger or symptomatic hernias, surgery may be necessary to repair the hernia and reinforce the abdominal wall.
Book an Appointment
Living with an ostomy comes with its share of challenges, but being informed and proactive about potential complications like parastomal hernias is essential. Contact NYC Hernia, located in New York, NY, to book your appointment. Call 212-879-6677 today.