I posted a little guide to hernias and support wear not too long ago, which you can read here. I wanted to do a quick review on some of the support wear I’ve got for those perhaps not knowing what to go for as there’s a decent choice out there for those in the UK. I’m afraid this is rather limited to women’s garments, but all items are available in men’s sizes too.
I really like the pants from Vanilla Blush, so I was pleasantly surprised by them. Everyone likes a good pair of big pants, not just Bridget Jones. It’s worth noting that these aren’t for ‘support’ as such, as they aren’t designed to help prevent a hernia or to be worn when lifting or doing activities that may challenge your abdominal muscles. They do, however, help to keep the bag flush and a little less noticeable underneath your clothes and increase confidence.
They’re comfy around the legs and the waist, fit well over the stoma bag and makes it feel just that bit more secure when I’m out. I’ve noticed I’m a bit more confident when wearing these too, and get less ouchiness from walking (when the bag can rub a little on sore skin and any remaining stubborn stitches). I’m usually about a UK size 8, and went for an 8 in these (despite seeing some comments about the stretchy fabric and generous sizing). I thought it was a perfect fit and wouldn’t have wanted them any smaller, so to me they seem true to size.
Pants from Comfizz arrived more recently, and straight out of the packet they are a little rigid and indented from the cardboard and being posted! I ordered the one pair to see how I got on with them. These provide low level 1 support, so they do help when lifting (though nothing too heavy!) or doing general activities to prevent hernia formation. I find the material to be a bit thicker and the body of the pants larger, so it’s more noticeable that they’re not quite regular undercrackers. The fabric is soft and stretchy enough, and they fit quite high on the waist so they’re pretty comfortable and cover the bag well. I find the size 8 to be true to size, though I’m not as keen on the legs of these; not quite pants, not quite shorts, they don’t seem to know what they want to be when I put them on! That said, once you get used to them, they’re pretty darn comfy and hold everything in very nicely!
Pelican – I have a Pelican Support Stoma Waistband that I ordered through my delivery company, Charter. This is soft and stretchy fabric that is more for, in my opinion, easily pulling up around your tum over your pants to keep the bag flush. You can pull this up and over for good coverage of the bag. It minimises the bag’s appearance under clothes and it’s lighter so it’s less obvious to me that I’m wearing it. This is great for general use when not wearing support knickers or boxers for the guys. I also tried the Pelican Eakin belt; this has a velcro closure and is designed to provide far more support, but unfortunately even the smallest size was far too large for me. I donated this and opted for a fitting for a heavier duty support belt…
SuportX came out to do a fitting for me and I opted for the stretchy belt as this was the most comfortable and should provide adequate support for various activities. You can choose a colour and whether to have lace, so I went for black and said yes to the lace overlay. Considering how tight the stretchy band feels, which is what is needed, it doesn’t dig in and sits quite comfortably, and I think it’s a feeling you get used to once you’ve worn it a few times. Mine only arrived more recently and I’ve not had much opportunity to test it out yet so I’m quite excited! I’m also seriously thinking I fancy a game of bowling (I’m a weakling and use a light ball anyway). I think that wearing a band like this will take some getting used to because it’s so different to have something tight across your middle, however I do find it to be pretty comfortable, it doesn’t scratch or dig or irritate at all, and it makes me feel more confident and secure enough to forget about the stoma and bag for a little while. You can get the ones without lace and wear it under a swimming costume too, in case you fancy swimming or paddling around with a little added support. You’ll get a call from SupportX a few weeks after you receive the belt to check you’re happy with it and they’ll offer to send you out another one (if you get them on NHS prescription).
There we have it : Comfy undercrackers that may not look ‘sexy’ but they sure do make a difference when you wear them to give both support and confidence, and bands that are fitted to ensure you get the perfect size for comfort.