What is a hernia?
A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. A hernia usually develops between your chest and hips. In many cases, it causes no or very few symptoms, although you may notice a swelling or lump in your abdomen or groin.
A parastomal hernia is where part of the bowel pushes through the abdominal muscle to create a swelling under the skin of the stoma. A hernia can form at any time during and after surgery. The hernia may cause issues with body image, appliance management and risk of leakages. A larger hernia may effect daily activities due to discomfort or a dragging sensation.
An incisional hernia is caused by a surgical wound that has not completely healed and occurs at or in close proximity to the surgical incision, through which the intestine, organ or other tissue protrudes.
What may cause a hernia?
There are contributing risk factors to developing a hernia which include excessive coughing, sneezing, lifting, overweight (waist circumference of 100cm or greater is an independent risk factor; De Raet et al 2008), chronic respiratory conditions (COPD), straining, extensive abdominal surgery, age (over 60 years) and skin integrity. Where there is a weakness in the abdominal wall (such as the formation of a stoma or any disruption to the muscle wall or abdominal structure through a procedure) combined with the weight of the intestine behind accentuated by any strain put upon the associated area such as a strain/pressure can cause a ‘pushing out’ behind abdominal wall which can cause a bump or a bulge in the skin, known as a ‘hernia’. A hernia can suddenly appear or can gradually develop over time and vary in shape and size.
What action should I take if I develop a hernia?
Most hernias can be managed conservatively without the need for further surgery. Correctly fitted hernia support garments are invaluable for the management of a hernia. Our support garments are available on NHS prescription in the UK. You will need to be assessed and measured either remotely or during a home visit. If you develop a parastomal hernia you are recommended to contact your stoma care nurse who will carry out an assessment. An individual management and treatment plan will be formulated and this should also include a referral for a professional support garment fitting/consultation.
What can I do to help hernia prevention?
Follow Medical Post-Operative advice from your nurse including lifting advice and techniques. Keep active and follow a healthy diet and lifestyle to avoid excessive weight gain and avoid smoking. Carry out appropriate abdominal exercises to improve core strength with guidance from your stoma care nurse or stoma specific exercise plans. Wear recommended support wear that you have been appropriately assessed and measured for by one of our experienced Support Specialists.
Support garments can be worn for hernia prevention, during exercise or activities such as lifting, gardening and housework. They can also be worn to improve comfort, reduce any dragging sensation and to support the weight of an existing hernia. Support garments can help to conceal the hernia/stoma and can be used as a discretion belt during intimacy.
When should I wear support?
Research and professional opinion suggests that if you have a stoma there is a higher risk of hernia formation and therefore support garments should be considered and worn during periods of activity. This can be during routine activity, work or leisure but especially if anything strenuous such as lifting or exercise. Essentially whenever there is any exertion that puts any strain on the core, including a cough or cold, a support garment should be worn. If you have an existing hernia, then it is suggested that support should be worn more often than not, although we do not recommend firm support garments to be worn whilst sleeping.
Will Support Wear affect my stoma?
The flexible textiles used in our support garments allow for a two-way stretch in the material and has been especially developed to allow your stoma to function as intended and give optimum support. If in the rare case that you experience any issues, we can recommend our adjustable hole support belts that allows the pouch to sit on the outside of the support garment.
What is the correct way to put on the wraparound glove hernia support belt?
If your stoma is on the RIGHT side of your body:
1. Put your right hand in the glove (ignore any tags/labels as the belts are universal).
2. Bring the belt around your back and place the horizontal Velcro strips around the left hip area. The belt should be ideally worn next to the skin to help keep it in place.
3. Outstretch your right arm out in front of you and bring it around to fasten to the Velcro strips. The belt goes over the stoma bag and allows the stoma to function underneath the 2-way stretch design fabric.
4. If you have a hernia, please lay down and re-fasten the belt as hernias can retract and this gives you a better even pressure to fasten it whilst the hernia isn’t bulging as much.
5. Once fastened ensure you can put your hand between the fabric and your stoma bag and you have enough room to make a fist in this area (if there isn’t enough room to make a fist loosen the belt slightly). The belt should sit about 2 inches above the stoma bag and it’s okay for it to cut across the bottom of the stoma bag.
6. Wear the belt when using your core muscles or when you’re on your feet for long periods. If you have a hernia wear the belt more often than not. The only time you are not to wear the belt is to sleep throughout the night.
7. When removing the belt - support the stoma/hernia area with one hand and slowly unfasten the Velcro fastening with your other hand, to allow a slow release of the belt tension.
If your stoma is on the LEFT side of your body:
1. Put your left hand in the glove (ignore any tags/labels as the belts are universal) and follow the instructions above, but fasten the belt to your right side.
How many garments am I allowed on prescription?
This varies dependant on individual needs, local CCG policy and also at your GP’s discretion. A guide is 2-3 hernia support garments per annum on NHS prescription. All our garments are also available to purchase directly from CUI wear by telephone or our online shop. You are encouraged to purchase ostomy underwear to cut costs to the NHS and we offer cost saving multipacks for added value for any direct purchases.
What are the care instructions?
All of our support garments can be machine washed at a maximum 40°C and air dried or hand washed if preferred to ensure longer lasting performance. Any Velcro should be closed during washing. For best results we suggest garments should be placed in a wash bag.
What colours are available?
Most garments are available in either Black, White or Beige
What if my size changes or if I have further surgery?
It is natural for our body shape to change over a period of time and if you find that your garment no longer provides the required support, please contact our Customer Service Team to arrange a re-measure/review with your local Support Specialist.
What service do we offer?
We provide a remote telephone/video or free home fitting service which allows us to draw on our experiences to carry out an assessment and discuss which hernia support garment best suits your needs. Measuring and fitting is carried out by one of our dedicated experienced team members assigned as your ‘Support Specialist’. All of our team are DBS (formerly CRB) checked and Medical Industry Accredited (MIA).
How can I purchase the garment or receive it on prescription?
Additionally, you can contact your doctor or nominated stoma supplies delivery company to request a prescription by quoting the CUI product code. The prescription can go directly to our office or to your delivery company.
How long does it take from ordering the garment to receiving it?
Direct orders of standard garments will be delivered within 1-2 weeks of receiving prescription/payment. If you have ordered a bespoke garment, this can take up to a maximum of 4 weeks from receipt of the prescription/payment.
Can I have a hole cut into the garment?
There are differing clinical opinions on hole cuts, but most people living with a stoma can wear a support garment that is fitted over the stoma and therefore offers an even distribution of support to the area of weakness, where the stoma is sited. For the small percentage of people that cannot tolerate the garment over the stoma, due to excessive pancaking, leakages or wearing a convex appliance, a hole cut option will allow the stoma pouch to sit on the outside of the garment and still offer some support for a hernia.
Is it possible to have a made to measure garment?
Yes, if you do not fit one of our standard garments then we can offer a bespoke garment that you will be measured for by one of our Support Specialists, bespoke garments may be required for a large hernia or complex needs. Please contact us on our Freephone number on 0800 279 2050 for your local Support Specialist to arrange a consultation.
Does CUI Wear provide a free home fitting service?
Yes, CUI Wear provides a home fitting service covering most of the UK and this is for both standard and made to measure bespoke garments. Please contact us on our Freephone number on 0800 279 2050 to arrange for your local Support Specialist to contact you.
How much does it cost to have a home fitting?
Our home fitting service is free of charge and hernia support garments are available on NHS prescription.