When I first had my surgery to remove my bowel and form my stoma, I had never even seen an ostomy bag before. The stoma nurse came to see me the night before and brought me a bag to see then after I woke up, I had the bag stuck to me. I went home with more of the same ileostomy bags and honestly I didn’t have a clue that there were any different types of bags. So when my body changed and I first had a parastomal hernia, I didn’t know I needed to get a different ostomy product.
Trying new ostomy products
And I think a lot of ostomates are the same, we stick to the bag we are given in hospital and don’t question or research whether there are other bags and products that would suit us better. Which is weird when you think about it, you wouldn’t just stick to the same hat for the rest of your life just because a shop assistant gave it you and told you it suits you.
Stoma nurses do a cracking job, they can and do recommend lots of different products if you are having issues. But as with everything with living with a chronic illness, it is important to be your own advocate and do your own research.
This is especially key if you have a change to your stoma or your body. If you gain or lose a lot of weight or if you develop a parastomal hernia. As you all may know, I have had a lot of hernias over the past seven years, including parastomal hernias. They effect every part of your life, especially the way your ostomy bag fits. I had loads of leaks due to my old bags fitting badly with the change of shape of my body.
Do some research and you can get free samples of most products, no one ever told me this! I decided to try the Aura Profile which available in a colostomy bag, ileostomy bag and urostomy bag. If you head over to their website, you can get a free sample here.
The Aura Profile moulds around the profile of your parastomal hernia. The flange is soft, and it inverts on itself. So, it shapes around your hernia and fits really snugly against your stoma. Parastomal hernias can get bigger and smaller throughout the day and totally change shape, this makes it super challenging to deal with and is why I have had so many leaks in the past. But the Aura Profile does a great job at adapting to your tummy size and shape. This also helps if you have dips, folds or scars on your skin around the stoma as the bag moulds to you.
I had quite sore skin around my stoma from the leaks and as we know, bags don’t like to stick to wet, sore skin. But within a week of using the Aura Profile, I noticed a huge improvement to my skin. If I’m honest, I hadn’t read this bit of the leaflet that came in the box (who does??) but I saw that it has Manuka honey in the flange that is really soothing and promotes healthy skin. Absolute bonus!
I didn’t get the belt to go with the bag and it is a different shaped hole fitting to the belt I already have and it didn’t fit. So I would recommend getting the belt to go with the Aura Profile. I don’t wear a belt all the time, but with having a parastomal hernia, it adds a bit of security that I like.
The flange was nice and sticky and because it is soft, I found it easy to press it down around my stoma to get a nice close seal. It has the measurements and cutting guides printed on the peel off back so was easy to cut to shape and there is a stoma size guide on the box itself too.
I have one of those blow up hot tubs in the garden and I also do some wild swimming, so I have had chance to wear the Aura Profile in water and it was spot on. No lifting at the edges of the flange and definitely no leaks. When I went swimming, I found my tummy swelled up quite a bit and the bag definitely worked with that change in shape and still fit really well.
If you have had a change to your body, or if you feel your bag isn’t fitting well right now, I would just remind you that there are so many products out there. You don’t have to struggle on and you shouldn’t.
I really liked the Aura Profile and would recommend you give it a try, if it doesn’t work for you then don’t give up! Speak to your stoma nurse, chat with other ostomates, do a bit of research and find the best product for you. I would also say that our bodies and stomas can change and just because something didn’t work for you last year, don’t write it off forever. It is always worth trying again if your needs have altered.
It can feel really isolating to have a parastomal hernia. I felt a weird guilt, had I done something wrong? Did I not allow enough recovery time? Was I too impatient? I felt worried that this was my fault and so I didn’t like to talk about it. I know this is silly, that parastomal hernias just happen to some people. But knowing there were products designed just for this issue made me remember that I’m not alone in this.
Watch the webinar
I hosted a webinar talking all things parastomal hernias last week. I don’t think parastomal hernias are discussed enough, it certainly wasn’t something I was told before I had surgery and it was a massive shock when I got my first hernia. I hope that events like this will not only inform and support but just rid the taboo and secrecy around hernias and help people to not feel quite so isolated. If you would like to watch a recording of the webinar and also a video from Pilates trainer Jo specifically for people with parastomal hernias, just click here.
I was asked to review the Aura Profile and so this is a sponsored post, but as always, I only give honest reviews and I only work with businesses that I believe in. This is why I don’t do many reviews as it is so important to me that I don’t promote anything that I wouldn’t happily use myself. For more information about the Aura Profile head to the Clinimed website.
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Peace and love