After stoma surgery, lots of people feel nervous about exercise. You might be worried about hurting yourself, but gentle exercise could help with your recovery. There are well-known health benefits to being active, and it's widely known that toning your core is particularly important for stoma bag wearers.
Building core muscle strength can help to avoid a parastomal hernia. Hernias are bulges or lumps under the skin which are caused by an internal part of the body pushing outwards. This usually happens when there is a weakness in muscle or tissue and the hernia is able to push through. Hernias are often harmless but can sometimes cause complications.
Parastomal hernias occur below or surrounding the stoma site. During stoma surgery, a gap is created in the stomach muscles, which causes a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Parastomal hernias are relatively common in stoma bag wearers, but there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of developing one. Avoiding heavy lifting, maintaining a healthy weight or wearing support can help to avoid putting excess pressure on the area.
Putting strain on the stoma area can increase the risk of developing a hernia. Some people find that the lump can make it difficult to attach a pouch, which can cause problems with leaking. The hernia can also cause the skin around the stoma to stretch, which increases the likelihood of breaking or damaging the skin. The bulge can be difficult to hide, which can make some people feel self-conscious.
Building a strong abdominal wall can reduce the risk of developing a hernia. You can do this by carrying out exercises which work your core without putting excessive pressure on your body. There are lots of exercises to help you achieve this, which can be carried out easily within your home.
Our me+™ recovery programme provides you with advice and support from before your surgery to recovery. The programme contains lots of helpful information, including how you can safely and effectively build your core strength and reduce the risk of developing a hernia.
The programme was developed by specialist nurses, alongside ostomates, to develop advice that is suitable for stoma bag wearers of all abilities and has been reviewed and approved by physiotherapists and surgeons. The programme details specific exercises which you can use to develop your core, help with your mobility and ultimately improve your confidence.
For more help and advice, contact our Nurse Advisor Line on 0800 085 2516 (UK) or 1800 818 988 (Republic of Ireland).