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Hernia belt

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Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:11 pm

I went to a support group meeting and a heated topic came up.  Made me uncomfortable just the way it was handled. Topic was hernia belts and not optional from speakers point.  Stated if you have an ostomy it is your responsibility to wear a hernia belt to prevent a hernia and added insurance expense a!ong with the emotional toll out on loved ones.  People walked out. I stayed thinking he is going to try and debate both sides or there must be a punchline.  Not so.  It did get me to thinking though.  Is a hernia belt a good idea as prevention?  Is a standard thin belt sufficient,so far has worked for me. I have learned a lot since Feb surgery, but sure there is much more I don't know.  The speech felt more like a scare tactic, I won't fall prey too, rather educate. I would like to hear others experience and knowledge.

Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:29 am

Hello CANN. This reminds me of the similar sorts of narrow focussed discussions we hear about other things like wearing seatbelts, smoking, shooting, vegetarianism, religion etc, etc. There are a few people who die 'because' they were wearing a seatbelt, but in most of the propaganda these incidents are not put out as acounterbalance to the argument that they want to put across.

Some people get a feeling that what they think about a subject must be 'right' and therefore everybody else should think the same way. There is nothing inherently wrong with having strong beliefs people should have a 'right' to think whatever they want. What I think is unacceptable, is when they try to eliminate that right for others.  I view it as a form of bullying so that the person can make his/her view the 'dominant' one - whether they are right or wrong or somewhere in between.

Back to hernia belts. I use one for prevention, although as I already have a couple of hernias, perhaps my decision to start wearing one was a bit late.

Technically, I wear two belts. The first is a gadget I made to control the horrible bulge from my peristomal hernia and the second is a wider belt to hold in the wider hernia and perhaps prevent it from getting worse. Having pinned my belts to the mast, so to speak, I would tell you that in a discussion with my stoma nurses many years ago, they were warning me about some possible dangers with tightening the adjustable belt too tight or not tight enough.  According to their logic, I could set up a constriction that could lead to a strangulation or twisting of the gut. As someone once said - for evey action there is a reaction. Who knows what is going to be the 'right' approach for every individual.

What I like about sites like this one is that we just chip in our ideas and people take it or leave it as they think fit. If we get enough people contributing different perspectives, then we get a much more balanced view and can make more informed choices for ourselves. For me, this is a 'healthier' option than having someone tell me what I ought to think and do.

Best wishes

Bill     

Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:19 am

Perhaps your speaker had a profitable sideline selling hernia belts, lol.

I really don't know if wearing a hernia belt to prevent a hernia would be particularly beneficial.  Hernia belts are very individual things - a person needs to be fitted for one. They are designed to "cup" the hernia to support and protect it, in much the same way as a woman's bra so I personally wouldn't go to the expense of buying one to support a hernia that doesn't exist.  I would suggest that you focus more on taking the usual precautions of prevention like avoiding heavy lifting, etc.  The narrow belt you refer to does nothing to prevent or support hernias - it merely provides extra support for your pouch and it is generally recommended that you wear one but you don't need to if you are wearing a proper hernia belt.

I do have a hernia and the reason I have it was because I didn't realize that, as an ileostomate, I would always be at risk of developing one.  I took the usual precautions following my surgery but after three months or so resumed all my normal activities. About 10 months later I had to temporarily take over the duties of hauling in firewood to feed the old wood stove during a particularly cold spell and the next thing I knew I developed a hernia. My hernia does not really cause me problems but I did get fitted for a NuHope hernia belt.  I do not wear it all the time, only when I am doing activities that require lifting (like grocery bags) or extra exertion like vacuuming, lawn mowing, etc. 

I hope this helps.

 

Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:16 am

I guess again, I've been very lucky.  I've never worn nor was it recommended that I wear a hernia belt.  As Char stated, after surgery, I was very careful with heavy lifting and over exerting myself.  I started carefully building back my stomach muscles and after a few months, I was back to my normal routine.

For most of my career, my jobs were very physical.  On my feet 8-12 hours a day, throwing around 40-50 lb boxes, throwing around a 70 lb ladder, practiced safe lifting and I've never had an issue with my ileostomy.

I believe we as ostomates are more susceptible to hernia's but I also believe it's the individual's choice.  As Bill says, ( and always so elegantly....love reading your posts man ) the more people that voice their opinion's, the easier it will be to make the decision that is right for you. 

I wish I could of been at that meeting cuz I wouldn't of walked out but totally would of called bs and argued the point.  Just my 2 cents.

Bain

Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:49 am

I've had the experience of with and without the belt. I have a very small hernia that developed, and ordered a NuHope belt, 4" wide. It did provide support for the hernia, and is very helpful if I am going to do anything that purs pressure on that area. However, I had problems with the belt sliding up in the back toward my waistline so it was actually pully slightly upwards on my appliance instead of supporting everything in a straight line. Also, after wearing the belt, my stoma actually started to protrude somewhat in a very uncomfortable manner. I gave up on wearing it for long periods, and only use it if I am going to do something strenuous (when I remember!).

I think the speaker was nuts - there is a down side to every "perfect" solution - and ther is no "perfect" one-size fits all solution to ANY problem. And a hernia belt to prevent a hernia is no solution at all - it won't fit properly and can cause other issues.

Just my 2 cents, too. (Soon we'll have a dollar!)

Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:38 am

Dana,

My ostomy nurse taught me to cut a slit in the middle (about 6 inches long) of the back of the hernia belt, fold it over, then resew it so the belt is narrower where it stretches around your back.  You don't need hernia support on your back and it does make the belt fit better and it's a lot more comfortable.

 

Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:05 pm

Hello charann52. That's a good idea I might well try that one as I find them quite unconforatable at the back.

Also, has anyone tried to use a back support brace to double-up as a hernia belt? I was thinking of giving it a go but thought I would just ask to see if anyone else has tried it.

Best widshes

Bill 

Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:52 am

Thank you for the detailed stories. I'm no expert, but it was read intresno.

Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:17 am

Just to give you an update. I bought a back brace and have been using it over my 'normal' arrangement with a CUI hernia belt. I seems to work quite well for both conditions so I will be continuing with this arrangemet until the weather warms up. I have a feeling that it will be far too warm in the summertime!

Best wishes

Bill

Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:21 am

I've been talking with Bill about this when I thought I had a new hernia after having hernia surgery just 2 months prior but I was mistaken. 

However, I've been dealing with a 5 pound weight limit for some time now and it's very difficult to adhere to. 

So I asked my regular doc to order me one. I want to know I have some support when it's necessary to push my limits but I also want the reminder there. 

I got a call today from medical supply  and they informed me they don't supply hernia belts. So what now? They didn't suggest an alternative and they obviously are holding my rx for the belt. Yes I intend to follow through but it stumped me. 

I also a sked for non latex bandages and she couldn't understand that even when I said hypoallergenic. How can they not know these things. I think I'm getting 2 inch paper tape and while that s easier to remove it often takes off a slice of my skin. 

Ultimately i think anybody getting abdominal surgery needs longer than 6 weeks to recover, weight limits, physical  therapy to learn how not to injure ourselves and some kind of support.

Think about it. I'm told our guts were literally pulled out of our bodies,then reorganized,tossed back in, then sewn back up. It's going to take some time for all that to settle right imho. 

Charlotte

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