Seeking Hernia Prevention Tips & Workout Plan



As part of my last operation, I had an abdominal reconstruction. My surgeon said that I have a 1 in 4 chance of getting a hernia and advised me to not lift anything heavy, too strenuous, etc.

I am 43 years of age and feel very frustrated as I would at least like to build up my strength in the gym. I am paranoid about every twinge I feel in my stomach. I would just like to do some light weights along with the cross trainer and running machine that I have been using. I am starting to get bored of both those pieces of equipment.

Sorry for waffling on. My op was over 12 months ago. I am looking for a little advice from someone who has had a similar issue or experience. They can say they did this or used that and have been fine.

Maybe even a workout plan they could suggest.

NJ Bain


I see from your profile that you have an ileostomy. So, I've had my ileostomy for almost 22 years now and I haven't had to have it relocated, nor have I suffered from hernias. The first 2 months after my surgery, I took it easy and built my strength back up slowly. After about a year of being patient and on my feet and flexing my abs at the time as I was on my feet 8-12 hours a day, my abs got stronger.

You can build your stomach muscles to almost better than they were before or at least that is my case. Practice proper lifting and don't overdo it. I can deadlift 185 but very carefully. A weightlifting or hernia belt wouldn't hurt either.

As for your previous post about leaks, do you use a one-piece system or two? And where on the pouch or wafer do you suffer from leaks?


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Hi Brian,

Thanks for your reply. I have had my ileostomy for nearly 4 years now. I had it made permanent a little over 12 months ago. I also had an abdominal reconstruction.

I do have a support belt. So you feel if I build up really slow, I should be ok?

Are there any easy ab exercises you could suggest?

My bag leaks to the right hand side under the wafer. I use a 1-piece drainable bag.



NJ Bain


Depending on what kind of abdominal reconstruction you've had done, it may impact your workout ability. I believe that if you build up slowly, you should be okay. But your ET nurse would be the first person I talk to for more information.

I currently have a Maxi Climber as it's low impact and works out all muscles in your body, and for when it's cold outside and I can't walk/run. Don't do sit-ups as there is more of a risk for a hernia. Crunches would be better. You don't have to do weight training to strengthen your abs.

There is a lot of info about this subject online. I found this, for example:

As far as the leakage goes, is it leaking under the wafer or where the pouch is welded to the wafer? How often are you changing it? Do you have weeping skin under the wafer or the tape? Any other factors that may cause the pouch to leak? What brand of 1 piece are you using?



Hi Bain,

Sorry for my slow response. I have had quite a major reconstruction as I developed a massive hernia as a result of my first operation. I have started to do some light weights and some easier stomach exercises.

I am wearing one of these:-

It is quite comfortable and gives me a bit more confidence when in the gym. I am just being super cautious not to do anything too heavy. Baby steps I guess, so far so good.

As far as leaks go, my leaks tend to be under the wafer.

I have used different types of pouches, Pelican and Coloplast amongst others, it has happened to them all.

I no longer eat before my lesson now as suggested by Primeboy on here. That seems to have done the trick so far. Fingers crossed.

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister

I had open surgery about six weeks ago and started using Cybex machines about two weeks afterwards. Cybex makes machines to do isolation work. Freeweights are a lot better overall but the isolation machines allow you to work an area without working the rest of your body so it's easy to avoid abs work. That said, I kept the weights at a fraction of usual, say 20-40 percent. It's good for a bit of a workout and it makes you feel like you're not losing muscle as fast.

I'm still using the machines six weeks out with only slightly more weight. I do use the seated crunch machine but only at 35-40 pounds (normal is about 200). It isn't causing any damage that I can feel. I'm also able to carry more weight (like grocery bags, my gym bag, my work backpack, etc.) without the little twinges here and there which I had before.

There are a lot of exercises that I'd like to do (bodyweight) but am afraid that I could damage something and it's quite frustrating not being able to do what I used to.

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