Ostomy Accessories Guide: Hernia Belts

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Guide to Ostomy Accessories: Hernia Belts/Bands

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What is a Hernia Belt?

A hernia belt, which can also be referred to as a hernia prevention belt or a hernia support belt, is an accessory used to either prevent or support a parastomal hernia.

Basko healthcare hernia belt
Hernia belts will have a hole that you put your appliance through. The hole is surrounded by a stiff material that’s designed to keep pressure around your stoma.

A parastomal hernia is a type of hernia that’s common among ostomates. So common, in fact, that up to nearly 50% of ostomates may develop a hernia at some point (SOURCE).

This occurs when the gut breaches the abdominal wall muscle and creates a bulge under the skin. Parastomal hernias can be quite large and cause other complications like leaks, improper appliance fit, etc.

You can see photos of parastomal hernias through an internet search HERE (warning: some graphic content). I don’t want to post photos without permission, but if you have a photo of a parastomal hernia that you’d like me to share here, please CONTACT ME.

It’s important that anyone who has a parastomal hernia be in contact with their stoma nurse or surgeon to make sure that it doesn’t become larger.

Sometimes, surgical correction is required (or desired), while at other times a hernia support belt will be used.

Some Benefits

  • Hernia belts can be used to minimize the chance of developing a parastomal hernia.
  • If you already have a parastomal hernia, a hernia support belt may help to prevent it from getting worse.
  • Hernia belts also provide support for a hernia to allow for better appliance management.
  • Hernia belts can often allow an ostomate to get back into exercising with heavy weights, play sports, or do heavy lifting at home or work.

Potential Issues

  • There is no guarantee when it comes to hernia prevention, so hernia belts aren’t 100% effective.
  • Hernia belts often need to be fitted, which can be inconvenient.
  • Hernia belts tend to be made of a stiffer material compared to fabric bands, which may not be as comfortable to wear.
  • Depending on where you live, hernia belts are an out-of-pocket expense.
  • Hernia belts may generate more heat and sweat around the abdomen, which may be uncomfortable. Fortunately, some brands do allow for better air flow.
  • Hernia belts, especially those with a hole for your stoma to go through, may increase the likelihood of a prolapse (which I’ve personally experienced while using a hernia belt).

How Hernia Belts are Typically Sold

Nu hope hernia belt_credits Deb_FB_small
One style of hernia belt from Nu-Hope. Photo used with permission.

Hernia belts are often sized to a specific wearer. Not only does it have to fit snugly around your abdomen, but it also has to allow your ostomy appliance to fit through a hole that’s exactly the right size.

I would recommend speaking directly with the manufacturer of your belt to find the right size for you. Better yet, have your stoma nurse take the measurements for you.

In some cases, you may be able to be fitted at a local medical supply store before they place an order for you.

Here’s a video by Nu-Hope, a company that makes hernia belts, showing how to take measurements for their Nu-Form belt (other manufacturers may have different instructions):

How to Measure for a Nu-Form Hernia Support Belt

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Hernia belts can easily sell for over $100, but most insurance companies will cover the cost if you have a prescription from your doctor. Even if you don’t have a parastomal hernia, I would still suggest getting a prescription so that you can get a hernia prevention belt.

If you’re looking for suppliers of hernia belts, I have a list of companies who make them on THIS page.

Purchase on Amazon

You can purchase ostomy hernia belts on Amazon (affiliate links). Many of the belts come in at under $50: USA | CANADA


How to Use a Hernia Belt

Hernia belts are meant to be worn around your abdomen.

Most will have an adjustable waistband with a fastener to close the ends (usually Velcro). They will also have a hole for your appliance to fit through, and surrounding that hole is usually a stiffer material to give you better support around your stoma.

To put one on, you’ll want to place it on your abdomen with the hole just over your appliance. You may loosely attach the Velcro ends to hold it in place.

Next, you’ll want to feed the bottom of your appliance through the hole in the belt. Pay close attention that the flange of your bag isn’t being pressed on.

You can now tighten the band appropriately – this should be fairly tight as it needs to apply pressure to your skin, but not so tight that’s it’s uncomfortable.

Some hernia belts may have an extra flap that goes over your appliance (as in the photo above). This extra flap may restrict the flow of your output, causing pancaking, so be aware of that.


Tips on Using Hernia Belts

Here are a few tips to make wearing a hernia belt more useful.

  • Wear it. The thing with hernia belts is that they are only helping you if you wear it! I know it sounds like common sense, but sometimes we get lazy or neglect these things.
  • Have another belt fitted if you gain/lose a lot of weight. If your body shape changes drastically, your current hernia belt may not fit 100%. Get it checked or refit yourself for a new one.
  • Some belts are designed to offer better air flow. If you live in a hot climate, this might be something to ask about.
  • If you change brands or the style of your appliance and the hole on the belt no longer fits snugly around the base (or flange), you may need to get a different belt.

Alternatives to Hernia Belts

There aren’t many great substitutes for true hernia belts, although some manufacturers who make ostomy support bands will claim that their products can help prevent or support parastomal hernias.

I would take those claims with a grain of salt, unless their bands use a stiff material to press against your skin. If they use stretchy fabric, there won’t be enough support there.


Additional Resources

If you have a hernia and are looking for moral support, check out the Community Forums.

Info: For more articles in this Accessory Guide Series, please visit THIS page.

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LLNorth
LLNorth(@llholiday)
4 months ago

Ron, I know what you mean. I often wear a cami made of stretch fabric, and sometimes they do roll up. One of the reasons I don’t use a wrap or belt is that I think they would roll up. I have thought that if I buy a wrap I would add two straps at the bottom, several inches apart, that would go on each side of the groin. I would likely use bias tape for these (I sew, so I have a lot of stuff like that around). Of course, the wrap would have to be put on like a pair of pants and pulled up.
Just an idea.

LLNorth
LLNorth(@llholiday)
3 months ago
Reply to  LLNorth

PS. So with the straps the wrap would be sort of like an upside-down cami.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I read once that the first athletic bra was invented by two women who turned a men’s athletic supporter upside down and modified it.

Bill Bell
Bill Bell(@bago)
4 months ago

I don’t have a hernia, but as protection against it, I have used Nu Hope belts.  They have a plastic ring that will not slip.  Keeps my bag in place and lets me not worry about getting a hernia. 
They are covered by health insurance at two a year.  At one point they gave me one a month, then they figured out the rules 😀.

Ron
Ron
4 months ago

Hi. I’m a fairly new ostomate and one of the first things I noticed after getting a colostomy was a huge lack of information at least, at least for me. Your site and videos have been a big help. Thank you. I have a question regarding abdominal binders and hernia belts. I have MS and use a wheelchair and have lost most of my abdominal muscles/strength so I think that the fact that the are near my stoma has become herniated probably shouldn’t have been a surprise but it was for me because no one told me to do anything special. I have started wearing just a simple abdominal binder with some success. I say some success because luckily I haven’t had any leakage or related problems but I do have problems with the dumb thing riding up and if I’m not paying attention suddenly I’m wearing a strapless bra instead of an abdominal binder. So my question is, Does anyone make a binder that will stay in place or should I think about a hernia belt?

Lindsay Kennedy
Lindsay Kennedy
1 year ago

I just started wearing my Nu-Hope hernia belt yesterday. Silly question but I cannot remember if the plastic ring on the belt goes above or below the plastic belt tabs on the flange. I am guessing above…

LK
LK(@dlkfiretruck)
1 year ago

@Lindsay Kennedy…Hi Lindsay & Welcome to VO!
Here, no question whatever   the situation is ever dumb, silly, stupid…or however you anyone may choose to label it.  We are all figuring these things out & it is very helpful when a question is asked & answered. We all learn from each other. Sharing ideas & how  others worked out a difficult or frustrating  situation, picking & choosing & trying different ideas that may work best for each of us,  is what this is all about. Tho Eric wonderfully provides a bounty of information, sometimes one may need a boost of encouragement or help simply figuring something out, and this is where we all come in.  You are more then welcome to share what you find worked for you when another has a situation they too are struggling with. 
Please do not be shy.  It is overwhelming to be fresh out of the Hospital &  or dealing with so many issues no matter how long we have had our stomas.  Feel free to ask anything you need answered & we’ll do our best to answer if it applies to the situation at hand. 
All the best to you or anyone as we all  landed  head first into this reality. Here, we are not alone!! 

Bubbles
Bubbles(@bubbles)
3 years ago

I wear a New Hope belt to the gym for preventing hernias . I put it on while standing . I find it comfortable. 

Leslie Williams
Leslie Williams
3 years ago

Hi my name is Leslie and I have a colostomy bag due to dicerticulitis. Ive developed a cough and now I have a hernia. I bought a hernia belt but it is big enuf for my stoma which is 2 1/4 wide but with the belt im not sure how to wear it. I know this is dumb but i dont quite know howcto wear it. No instructions were enclosed. Uts from China.

Marilyn Hargrove
Marilyn Hargrove
3 years ago

You should apply the hernia belt while lying and the bowel is reduced behind the faschia. That way the belt can help keep the bowel were it belongs.
You know the hernia is reduced if the abdomen is soft and flat around the stoma.
Thanks

Heidi Bookenstock
Heidi Bookenstock
3 years ago

My daughter wears a hernia belt. As she keeps growing, w have to keep getting her new ones, but we have trouble finding the right size. It’s a great idea to speak directly with a manufacturer to find her correct size, or to have her stoma nurse take her measurements.

elsieron
elsieron(@elsieron)
4 years ago

I’ve heard that one surgeon has suggested NOT using a hernia belt. He feels that the abdominal muscles need to be worked to regain their ability to carry out their function of supporting the abdomen. He felt that these muscles are hindered in fulfilling this function if a hernia belt is doing the supporting. Is this a commonly held view?