Stoma Support Belt - Is Pooching Around Stoma an Issue?

Apr 18, 2024 12:34 pm

I have been told to wear an ostomy support belt 24 hours a day for my temporary colostomy except for showers and such.

My question is about the slight pooching that appears around my stoma... Is this normal? For context, I have seen many pictures of stoma hernias, and this is nothing like that. It's just a minor bulging that makes me question if this indicates risk of a hernia or other complications.

Any guidance would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!

Apr 18, 2024 5:37 pm

Wearing the belt... "might" prevent a peristomal hernia. There is no concrete evidence that it does... but it doesn't hurt to wear one. Especially the months after surgery.

Without a picture, it will be hard for anyone here to give an opinion on the pooching/bulging you're experiencing.

I developed a parastomal hernia about 5 months post-op. It is very easy for this to happen, even wearing a belt. A CT scan will reveal if you have a hernia. I had one. It shows my small intestine pushing up against my stoma on the left side, causing a small bulge.

I went to my surgeon yesterday for a check-up. He said, if done right, my hernia could be fixed with mesh. But... it's major surgery. And there is the possibility the hernia could return. The hernia doesn't interfere with my wafer or bag. It just sticks out a bit, making me look lopsided. For me, it's not worth the risks of fixing the hernia just so I could look less lumpy.

My colostomy was supposed to be temporary. But it didn't turn out that way. Reversal surgery is not as straightforward as I thought. There can be various complications that decrease the quality of life.

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Mysterious Mose
Apr 18, 2024 8:28 pm

Two questions. What type of ostomy do you have? Ileostomy, colostomy, or urostomy? And what do you mean by an ostomy support belt? A belt that supports the bag itself, or a belt that wraps around your abdomen to prevent hernias? If the latter, what is the doctor's rationale for wearing such a thing 24x7?

Also, as Beachboy says, a picture would be helpful to understand what you mean by "pooching." If you mean developing a dip around the stomach, this is pretty common and is usually solved by going to a convex barrier rather than a flat one. That worked for me. There are also moldable barrier rings that help some people. The problem is we are all different, and it often takes some experimentation.


P.S. Welcome to the group. :-)

Apr 18, 2024 9:23 pm

I know the pooching you're speaking of. Where the hole is in the belt where your bag comes through, it makes it stick out around that hole area. But you can buy a maternity band to wear over it, and it will help hold things in. Being that your colostomy is only temporary, do listen and wear that because a parastomal hernia is no fun. They don't go away after they take the stoma down.

If it's not from the belt, a stoma always causes some pooching there. My nurse told me that our stoma is actually a hernia of sorts anyhow.

If you get a hernia, you will have a huge pooching on the one side where your stoma is, and it's a pulling, dragging, miserable feeling and makes you look pregnant on one side. Once it's there, it's all over. So yeah, listen to your docs and nurses. They are looking out for you. We with ostomy are highly susceptible to parastomal hernia.

Apr 19, 2024 2:22 pm
Reply to Beachboy

Thanks for your help with this! While wearing the belt and just after taking it off, the pooching is pronounced (see photos), but if I stay out of the belt for half an hour or so, it seems to relax most of the way back to normal. I'm just concerned if there is any risk associated with this, and if so, what can I do to mitigate that risk.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Apr 19, 2024 2:24 pm
Reply to Hisbiscus

Thank you for this!

I know that all ostomates must have these types of questions in the beginning, and learning from your experience is so valuable.

Thanks again.

Apr 19, 2024 2:27 pm
Reply to Mysterious Mose

Thank you! I have added pics in my response to BeachBoy, as well as the added context that this pooching is pronounced while wearing the belt and just after removing it, but if I stay out of the belt for 30 minutes or so, it relaxes most of the way - not completely, but mostly.

As far as rationale, as I understand it, this is primarily to support the surgical site as it heals. I had the unfortunate experience of having a life-threatening medical emergency (complete bowel obstruction) in a second world country we were visiting (Costa Rica). Between language barriers (I speak some Spanish, but am far from fluent) and second world medical practices, I ended up with a surgical site that began to split back open after stitch removal and then got a staph infection (luckily not MRSA). We have finally cleaned up the infection, but I still have gaping openings that have yet to close. We fly back to the US in about a week, where I should get better care - but for now, I just have all kinds of questions.


Apr 19, 2024 7:50 pm

Looking at your pictures, I'd say not to worry. It's probably the adipose fat being concentrated by the compression of the belt.

I had a hole pop open about a week post-op at the bottom of my surgical scar. For about a week, it leaked and got bigger. I consulted my surgeon, and he advised me how to close it.

From Amazon, I bought Vashe wound wash, silver alginate, and Hypafix dressing retention tape. Every night I poured the Vashe into the hole in my stomach. Let it sit for a minute. Then used a paper towel to blot up the excess Vashe. Silver alginate is like a felt material. I cut a piece that would fit into the hole. So, I carefully stuffed the alginate into the hole, then put a piece of gauze over the hole. Used Hypafix to cover it all. And every day, the hole got a little smaller. After 2 weeks, the hole was closed. About 2 months later, skin filled in the area where the hole was.

When I travel outside of the US, I take my own syringes, Hypafix tape, Vashe, band-aids, silver alginate, aspirin, gauze, and plenty of ostomy supplies.

Apr 20, 2024 11:46 am
Reply to Beachboy

Thank you very much for this guidance. 

I'm happy to have found this forum, and that I am now able to connect with people who can help me through this learning curve by sharing their own experiences. 

Apr 22, 2024 2:26 pm
Reply to Rodr24

This is the way my colostomy looked when I first came home from surgery. I was not directed to get a hernia belt. I was given the small belt that clips to the pouch. When I started to have some pain and the hernia started, I went to the ostomy nurse and he told me about a hernia belt and made some recommendations. I purchased a few belts and they all did what you are showing. I realized that the hole that the bag went through was too big. I kept looking and found one on Amazon that worked for me, click on the link below. This will depend on the size of the flange on the skin barrier and bag you are using. I am using a 50mm flange so the 2.75-inch opening fits on the flange and holds everything in. NOTE: Be careful to not make the hernia belt too tight as it does cause the ostomy to pooch out more.


Apr 22, 2024 2:40 pm
Reply to Golf&Osto

Thank you for this recommendation!

The belt I have been using is causing a rash, probably a heat rash as it's been very hot here.

How does this one treat your skin?