Parastomal Hernia: Symptoms, Management, and Surgery Results

Mar 17, 2023 12:45 am

Was wondering if anyone developed a parastomal hernia after a colostomy surgery. Would really appreciate comments/answers to the following:

Were there any bothersome symptoms such as pain at the stoma, tightness and pressure around it, bloating and obstruction of stool or gas? Any serious complications, for example, strangulation?
How did you deal with them?
Did you need to have surgery to repair the hernia? If so, did you have good results?
Mar 17, 2023 12:55 am

Sorry you're going through all that... I pray you find your answers

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Mar 17, 2023 2:25 am

I have one now. No pain or issues, just a lopsided stomach

Ostomate & woundr
Mar 17, 2023 3:19 am

Technically, a hernia is defined as a weakness in the muscle wall, most frequently in the abdomen or groin.

All of us now have a defect in our abdominal wall... A surgical defect... It's called our ostomy. Soon or late, most ostimates develop hernias. It's almost inevitable because the surgical site has already made the weakness that allows gut to push through.

The only time they hurt is typically when that muscle contracts and pinches off the gut that has fallen through where it isn't supposed to be.

If the muscle pinches it off long enough, the bowel can die from lack of oxygen caused by compromised circulation.

This term is sometimes referred to as a strangulated hernia or, in medical terms, an incarcerated hernia.

All hernias can progress and may get worse in time. It is almost inevitable. However, muscle strength in the area will help significantly.

Unfortunately, I have the one-two punch of having lost a kidney due to kidney infection that may possibly have started from adhesions when I had UC. I now have the joy of dialysis 3 days a week. One of the things nobody ever told me was that the electrolyte imbalance caused by dialysis creates terrible muscle cramps. When a cramp occurs in a place that pinches off some gut at the hernia, it can be extremely painful.

But no pain lasts forever. I learned how to deal with pain when my guts shredded and fell apart, leading to my ileostomy. They put me on patient-controlled anesthesia with a drug called Dilaudid. Unfortunately, my body was unable to break down and use Dilaudid. For the 3 months at the hospital where I was being treated, doctors believed it was a miracle drug and thought it would prevent people from becoming addicted to morphine. My body cannot process synthetic pain medications, so I had severe peritonitis for 3 months and NO-PAIN-RELIEF. I couldn't even turn side to side and was constantly being scolded by my colleagues because they figured I would develop a bedsore (these days known as a pressure injury). But I just could not turn on my side; my abdomen hurt so much I could not turn sideways for 5 minutes, much less lay on my side for 2 hours. Fortunately for me, my good care and work ethic had earned me some points in a way, and the hospital provided a specialty bed for me that prevented me from getting a sore on my behind. It took me 5 years to win off the pain meds and rehab myself back to work, but I did it twice. Now retired, I plan to keep on living as long as God decides that I serve some purpose. None of us gets out of this world alive. Every new life involves pain. And all of us have been given a new life.

Mar 17, 2023 12:15 pm

Good question that has been covered several times on this forum. A large percentage of ostomates develop a hernia, getting it repaired is not too big a deal but you should seek out a surgeon who specializes in doing this. Placement of the stoma should be carefully considered, the ideal location my surgeon told me is the "rectus muscle". My original surgeon had me pick the location (not good)! Anyhow, I developed a hernia and lived with it for several years, when it started to interfere with my irrigation I decided to get it repaired.
My repair involved relocation to the optimal site, I was repaired with the pig skin mesh in 2014 and since then I have not had any problems. My surgeon told me to be extra careful lifting and placed a 50 lb limit on me, he also cautioned about staying trim and told me realistically I could no longer work as a mechanic. A large percentage of hernia repairs fail, since every time the abdomen is cut it just makes it weaker. I hope this helps some, success will require that you stay diligent and CHOOSE AN EXPERIENCED SURGEON! Good luck

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Mar 17, 2023 3:38 pm

Yes, I had my ileostomy over 30 years and developed a hernia around 5 or 10 years ago. Just a bulge the size of a melon. Now I get a heavy pulling feeling as I walk, and more recently pain in my back right behind the hernia. My thinking is the hernia is causing the back pain, but for the time being, I haven't got a colorectal doctor, so it's just my DIY guess. So, could be wrong as I have other health issues too. I'm not expected to survive another abdominal surgery, so hernia repair is a do or die only situation for myself.

Mar 19, 2023 2:40 am
Reply to mild_mannered_super_hero

Aaaw fudge. Talk to me.

Am a car lite truck teck.

Undergoing rectal removal and hernia repair too. This May.

Could retire but want to work.

Not a fan of disability due to the stoma or hernia.

This restriction your dr. put you on is permanent? Lifetime disability?

All due to hernia repair?

Thanks for any input.

Mar 19, 2023 2:44 am

I didn't know either, hernia or ostomy, was considered a disability in the US? &zwj

Mar 19, 2023 2:57 am

Alex, maybe different states look at it differently. NJ...I can go on disability

because of the stoma.

Screw that...however with a hernia

limiting me to 50 lbs?

Not too happy hearing this.

My doctor said I could with a stoma...

But we haven't discussed the hernia-disability limit.

Mar 19, 2023 3:24 am

Interesting, I thought what was considered a disability was a federal thing. &zwj

Mar 19, 2023 4:11 am
Reply to Ben38

I have to say, Ben, that your situation kind of sucks. I'm sending good karma your way.

Mar 19, 2023 12:04 pm
Reply to warrior

My doctor told me I would have to change my lifestyle or I would be right back in there with another hernia. He also strongly advised me to stay trim and avoid getting a large belly. To repair the hernia, they moved my stoma and went back through the original incision..... so if you can imagine, I have a palm-sized spot on my abdomen that is weaker than desired. Every time they cut you to repair, it makes the abdominal wall weaker. I was close to retirement anyhow, so it was an easy decision for me. I had a full-time job since I was 17, I figured 40 + years was enough. I would suggest that you have a frank discussion with your surgeon and get his opinion rather than mine. I do know a large percentage of hernia repairs reoccur. I still lead a pretty active lifestyle but I limit my heavy lifting.

Mar 19, 2023 5:37 pm
Reply to mild_mannered_super_hero

Thank you.

Scary shit. I'd go nucking futs without working.

Will talk to doctor but they know clinical aspects..text book ..

I wanna know real life.

I dig what you're saying. After 40 years it's time..

I just don't know anything else but my work sadly.

Mar 19, 2023 11:18 pm

I've had one for about 2 years. To this point, I've had no pain or discomfort at all. I try to be very careful when lifting but other than that it's been a non-issue. So far anyway.

May 09, 2023 4:13 am


i wasnt smart and didnt listen either i lifted alot of things doing stuff for my mother and things she needed done til one day i lifted a tire into the back of my truck and tore my stoma my bag was full and i just thought i ate something why the color was different thought i just got up to fast is why i was dizzy,i was bleeding all night to were i almost bled out while i was sleeping. i didnt know till in the morning when i woke up dizzy and went to take a bath. i was exspecting a friend on his way over then the i fanted in the tub i was lucky my dad was home i hallard at him,then he saw the different color in the water so the amblance was called i walked out the house in a towel then i was sent to the hospital with couple quarts low that was my teacher dont lift you dumb ass i got lucky so after that i really watch what i do

May 14, 2023 3:23 am
Reply to AlexT

Same here, it's huge! It makes me look 6 months pregnant, which is embarrassing for a 64-year-old woman! I've tried finding shirts to try and hide the bulge, but I haven't had any luck. Surgery isn't an option since I have real bad COPD.