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What is a parastomal hernia?

A hernia can be a common complication of having a stoma. When a stoma is formed a hole is made in the abdominal muscle so the bowel can be brought through to form the stoma on the outside of the abdomen. This hole is a weak spot and the bowel that normally sits behind the muscle can move through this hole and sit in the space between the muscle and the abdominal wall. It is usually seen as a bulge around or next to the stoma.

If you notice a bulge, as long as the stoma continues to look a healthy colour (pink or red is good), function normally and there is no significant pain in your abdomen, then don’t panic. You do not need to rush off to the Emergency Department at this point. However, it is advisable to see your surgeon at some time to review the stomal area, so they can assess and offer any advice necessary. Many people with a parastomal hernia need no specific treatment but there may be precautions you need to be aware of. There is also some evidence that wearing an abdominal support garment may decrease the risk of a hernia, or help manage one, so discuss with your doctor and your Stomal Therapy Nurse, if this has not been discussed at the time of your surgery.