There is no doubt that living with a stoma or a parastomal hernia has a profound impact on a person’s quality of life. Some of the challenges related to stoma and hernia formation can be met by using support and compression belts. It is, however, important that the belts offer functionality for relief and contributes to increased physical activity level, improved cosmetic appearance and reduced psychological stress.
In our effort to ensure that our garments have superior performance, we work closely with stoma care nurses, as they are the professional clinicians distributing advice for many people with ostomies and potentially also hernias.
Recently, our Medical Product Manager interviewed Danish Stoma Care Nurse, Ann-Mari Mynster, about the functionality of support and compression belts. Ann-Mari has 9 years of experience in stoma and hernia management, which demonstrates her superior level of knowledge, making her statements reliable in every aspect of stoma and hernia management.
“Yes, absolutely. At this clinic we advise about ostomy belts, because many think it is a great advantage to have one, both when being intimate, and when being physically active e.g. doing sports. Already at the pre-surgical check-up, we talk about belts and also underwear. We call the belts “discretion belts”, as they help smooth the appearance of the abdomen, hiding both the stoma and the stoma pouch.”
“Since each patient is individual and unique, we assess every single one of them and hand out belts according to individual preferences and needs. However, easy application is always of superior importance, and it is equally important that the belt fits well and stays in place, not rolling up or down.
In general, people with an ostomy also care very much about the visibility of the stoma and the stoma pouch. It is important that the stoma and the stoma pouch are not visible. Sometimes, we hand out hernia belts for people, who do not have a hernia, as they find that the hernia belts offer a higher level of support compared to regular stoma belts. That way, a hernia belt is used as a “discretion belt” every now and then.”
“After stoma surgery, every patient is offered a follow-up programme with attendance. The programme consists of 3 consultations during the first 6 months, and then - which is new - an annual control by phone. However, we always schedule consulations based on the needs of the individual patient, which vary a great deal. Some patients need advice on a regular basis, especially those who get chemotherapy as post-treatment. Others manage for a longer period without consulting us. No matter what, we always call the patient once a year for a status. We do this as we have become more aware of late complications and have experienced that patients sometimes wait too long before they seek help. They accept problems that can easily be addressed, so when we call them we always ask if a bulge has occured, as this is a wellknown challenge. It's our impression that 50% of the patients develop a hernia at some point in their lives”
“We always advise a patient to wear a hernia belt. It is not necessary to sleep with the belt, as the hernia often retracts when lying down, but it is good to apply the belt in the morning when lying down, as it ensures proper placement and support.
It is my experience that the patient feels relief instantly when wearing a belt, and the aggravating feeling of being lopsided is also reduced, especially when the pocketed flap sits on the other side of the stoma and the bulge, as it levels out, smoothens and thereby improves the cosmetic appearance of the abdomen.”
“The supportive function of the belt or tube is crucial, however, having said that, it is also important that the fabric is not too tight, as the stoma must be able to produce under it.
The belt or tube should be flexible vertically and horizontally, and the height must fit the patient. It is therefore considered a great advantage if the belt and tube come in more heights, because we all carry different heights.
It is also imperative that the belt or tube does not roll. We advise our patients to always wear it directly on the skin, because placed over underwear, it may slide from side to side.
Another important factor is that the belt or tube fits well. And so a wide size range to accommodate all body proportions is a must have.
Easy handling is also of utmost importance. The belt and tube should be easy to apply. For easy application of the belt it is good, when it has a pocket. If a patient prefers to wear a tube, it is my experience that most of them are able to apply the tube, especially when lying down.”
The above statements from the Stoma Care Nurse about the demands on functionality of ostomy support and compression belts are fully aligned with our Corsinel range of belts and tubes. Click here to learn more about the Corsinel ostomy and hernia support products.