Living with a parastomal hernia

Living with 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!

  • Hi Andy. Your recent update brought the original article to my attention. It's a really interesting read and a good insight into parastomal hernia. Thanks for sharing!

  • I've just seen this blog again, so thought an update is in order.

    I've had to postpone surgery. My company sick leave policy is not great, so I cannot afford to be off work for the estimated three months recovery time.

    More to the point, I've kinda accepted it's there, and any attempt to remove it would be cosmetic, but it does seem to be getting larger.
    Having said that, if I won the lottery, I would have it removed tomorrow.

    I did see a surgeon who agreed to operate - he said that they would try to in some titanium plating to my spine, and use that to staple the stoma back, thus hopefully remove the hernia. If that didn't work, then it would need resiting.

    In answer to #TonyB , I don't really have much pain now, but it was towards the bottom of the hernia.

  • Hi Andy, I too am in a similar situation to you. I have a large parastomal hernia however I have recently changed surgeons as mine has retired. My new surgeon wants me to loose about 3 stone before she will consider surgery. I want to ask you the pain I am suffering with the most is around the groin area  on both sides, I have been told this is due to the hernia pushing down on that area and causing the pain, however I am not convinced and think it could be something else. What is the location of the hernia pain you suffer with? TonyB