Parastomal hernias continue to be a common and distressing problem for ostomates. But are they preventable?

Data from the USA, reported by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons reveals that every year approximately 87,000 ileostomies and 135,000 colostomies are formed, and 20,000 to 35,000 of these patients will likely develop a parastomal hernia. The NHS in England describes a parastomal hernia where the intestines push through the muscles around the stoma, resulting in a noticeable bulge under the skin. Parastomal hernias aren't usually painful, but having one could make it more difficult to keep an ostomy appliance in place which can impact quality of life. Larger parastomal hernias may affect the ability to bend or restrict movement which can be uncomfortable.

In March, 2005 a research study conducted by Thompson and Trainor reported that introduction of a prevention program for 1-year post-stoma surgery formation had significantly reduced the incidence of parastomal hernia development. This was further supported by a follow-up study in 2007, strengthening the validity of the first findings by confirming a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of parastomal hernias through a simple non-invasive prevention approach evaluating if support undergarments worn early on would be a beneficial option for people with a stoma.

To obtain further data regarding parastomal incidence, Comfizz Director, Lorraine Alikhanizadeh and ostomy nurse Jackie North carried out an independent research study at Queen’s Hospital, Romford in 2014 with 100 stoma patients. In this 12-month study, support wear was issued before discharge from the hospital with specific advice to wear lightweight support garments in place of normal underwear (not just for heavy lifting), and to increase the level of undergarment support during exercise or exertion. The results found there was a highly significant reduction of hernia incidence from 23% to just 1% when support wear was consistently worn for early intervention.

Parastomal hernia incidence research graph

Lorraine further explained that compliance to the program is vital to its effectiveness in preventing parastomal hernias saying, "Many patients often forget to do the exercises; do not wear the support garments regularly; lift heavy objects without thinking; and cough without supporting the abdomen — all of which can increase the risk of developing a parastomal hernia. I feel that if ostomates are fully aware of the benefits of wearing support garments and doing the exercises, they are more likely to be compliant."

Comfizz is a small family business with a big mission! As part of their commitment to prevent the number of patients from developing parastomal hernias, they have a goal in 2018 to giveaway up to 5,000 Comfizz waistbands. They've launched a national campaign called “PANTS TO HERNIAS” where every new customer who places an order this year will receive a complimentary waistband. To claim your free waistband, visit, order any product and a waistband, then enter the voucher code newcustomergift at checkout so the price of your waistband is removed.

This article was made possible by Comfizz. To find out more about our approach to sponsored articles, see our About page.

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