The 10 Best Hernia Belts
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in January of 2017. There's one thing all hernias have in common: they are not fun. But, thankfully, you can mitigate the pain and shorten the recovery time you experience after suffering one -- and/or after a surgical procedure to repair one -- using one of these support systems. Note that it is important to consult a medical professional before using any of these belts to ensure it is right for your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 13, 2020:
There is no question about it. Hernias are uncomfortable, and often downright painful. So the last thing you need is a hernia belt that causes further discomfort due to a poor design. With that in mind, we looked for models that are padded enough to provide gentle compression, are breathable, and which allow you to go about your normal activities without feeling like your movement is overly restricted. Before picking any of the options on this list though, you should consult with a doctor to see if your issue is serious enough to require immediate medical assistance, and if the option you are considering is suitable for your needs.
Ideally, a good hernia belt should provide the right amount of support with the least amount of material. Because of this, we are big fans of the Uriel Meditex Inguinal and Ortonyx Inguinal Double, both of which have very streamlined designs. Not only does this allow them to be imperceptible under most clothing, but it also means they won't make you feel warm or cause any excess sweating. However, if these don't provide enough support for you, or you are worried they may move around a bit during periods of intense activity, you may want to consider the Underworks Brace 948, Wonder Care Double Truss, and Everyday Medical Guard Inguinal Truss. All of these have a much wider waist strap, so the chances of them moving are slim, and big pads that are suitable for large hernias.
If you have an umbilical hernia, none of the above models will work. Instead, you need the OTC 2955 Select Series or FlexaMed 10-Inch, both of which wrap tightly around the mid-section. The former offers more freedom of movement but has a smaller pad, whereas the latter covers a larger area but can cause people to feel restricted in the activities they can perform.
Quite possibly the most versatile option on our list, the Cabea Baby Belly Band is useful for much more than just hernias. It can also help to relieve pain caused by vulvar varicosities of the vulva or perineum, pelvic floor discomforts, and aid in postpartum recovery.
You may think that if you already have a hernia, it may be too late to make lifestyle changes that could help, but this is untrue. Not only does exercising and maintaining a healthy weight go a long way towards preventing hernias in the first place, but they can also help stop them from getting worse. So, it may be time to consider getting a home treadmill or elliptical to shed those excess pounds.
August 16, 2019:
The most important thing when choosing a hernia belt is getting the right one for your specific type of hernia. If you are an adult with an umbilical hernia, you should look to the OTC 2955 Select Series or FlexaMed 10-Inch. The OTC 2955 Select Series stays in place better as you go about your daily activities and features a stiff bar that stops it from rolling up or down when you sit. Unfortunately, some may find the Velcro chafes their skin, so it is best worn over a shirt. On the other hand, the FlexaMed 10-Inch does tend to roll up when sitting and it may shift slightly if you move around a lot during the day, but most will find it causes no skin irritation. Plus, it has a larger compression pad, offering slightly more support. The Meditex Infant is another model designed for umbilical hernias, but it was specially engineered for babies and provides them with ideal mix of compression and comfort.
For those suffering from an inguinal hernia should consider the Uriel Meditex Inguinal, Ortonyx Inguinal, Underworks Support Brace, Wonder Care Double Truss, BeFit24 Adaptable, and Curad Lightweight. Of these, the Underworks Support Brace, Wonder Care Double Truss, BeFit24 Adaptable, and Curad Lightweight offer the most versatility. They have removable pads that allow you to provide yourself with unilateral or bilateral compression depending on your needs. While we like the Ortonyx Inguinal enough to give it our number two spot because of its streamlined designed that many users will find more comfortable throughout the day, its pads are not removable, meaning it will always provide bilateral compression. The Uriel Meditex Inguinal also claimed a high spot on our list because of its minimalistic construction, but it too doesn't feature removable pads. However, it is available in a left, right, or bilateral model, so you can simply purchase the one you need.
Though all of the items on this list can provide relief from hernia pain, the best option is to do everything to prevent experiencing one in the first place. This means maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly either in your home gym or at your neighborhood fitness facility.
HPH Hernia Mini-Belt Developed with the help of surgeons, this item provides you with just enough support to offer relief, but not so much that it interferes with your body's healing process. Plus, its compact design ensures that it won't interfere with your activities, whether they be horseback riding, swimming, or even gymnastics. herniabrief.com
HPH Hernia Bathing Suit While we recommend you quickly treat your hernia with the help of a medical professional, if you choose to postpone surgery for as long as possible and still want to be able to enjoy your favorite activities, this swim suit brief can help. It looks very similar to traditional clothing, so most people won't even be able to tell you are wearing a support device, and it is salt and chlorine resistant for use in pools and the ocean. herniabrief.com
A Brief History Of Hernia Belts
Today they are primarily used by patients for whom surgery is especially risky.
The first description of a hernia in recorded history dates back to 1550 B.C.E., in Egypt.
Hernia belts, also known as trusses, were listed in catalogs as long ago as the American Civil War era.
Primitive hernia trusses, like those that appeared in Snowden & Brother's catalog in the 1860s, were assembled from leather and steel, and included a series of metal springs. Needless to say, they were decidedly not ergonomic.
A particularly popular device known as Eggleston's Truss included a cup-shaped pad, with a free floating ball inside. The ball would apply pressure to the area of the hernia, just as someone might do with their finger, holding the hernia "securely day and night," according to the device's marketing material
Truss designers faced a stiff challenge in finding a construction that would keep the device's pad permanently in contact with the hernia.
Later trusses employed technology similar to their predecessors, albeit with modern materials, and even today some use metal springs and a stiff pad to apply pressure to the bulging tissue. Modern hernia belts use the latest elastic synthetic materials, which in many cases are more resilient and effective than the leather and metal devices that preceded them.
As hernia surgery grew increasingly safer throughout the 20th century, the need for long-term use of trusses diminished. Today they are primarily used by patients for whom surgery is especially risky.
What Is A Hernia?
Simply put, a hernia occurs when an organ protrudes through the wall of the cavity that normally contains it.
Hernias most frequently involve abdominal protrusion by a segment of the intestines.
About 25 million people suffered a hernia in 2013, according to one global study. The most common forms of hernia are inguinal, femoral, umbilical, and hiatal.
In inguinal hernias, fatty tissue or a portion of the intestines poke into the groin, near the top of the inner thigh. These hernias are more likely to be observed in men than women, and are generally accepted to be the most common type of hernia.
The three most common types of hernias were responsible for nearly 60,000 deaths in 2015.
Less common is the femoral hernia, which again involves fatty tissue or part of the intestines protruding into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. Femoral hernias are more likely to occur in aging women.
As you would expect, in umbilical hernias fatty tissue or a segment of the intestines pushes through the abdomen near the navel.
Finally, in hiatal hernias part of the stomach pushes into the chest cavity through an opening in the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. This muscle, known as the diaphragm, is highly susceptible to the weakness and tearing that leads to herniation.
About three percent of women and 27 percent of men will develop a groin hernia in their lifetime, according to The New England Journal of Medicine.
Symptoms of herniation include a lump or bulge in one of the aforementioned areas. This lump can typically be pushed back in, and may even disappear when resting in certain positions. Strain from coughing, having a bowel movement, crying, laughing, or from various forms of physical activity can cause the lump to re-emerge.
Hernias typically require surgery to repair. If you suspect you have a hernia, see a doctor immediately. Hernias can be life threatening, particularly if a portion of your intestine becomes trapped in the abdominal wall. The three most common types of hernias were responsible for nearly 60,000 deaths in 2015.
Some hernias do not require repair, but this should be determined by your doctor. For instance, symptomless male groin hernias are not typically repaired.
Many who have hernia surgery are able to return to work within two weeks. Those who have their hernia repaired with a mesh device can recover in mere days.
While many hernias are unavoidable, there are some ways to reduce your herniation risk.
Start by generally reducing strain on your body and strengthening abdominal muscles, where possible. This advice may sound too broad to be useful, but a simple way to achieve this is by maintaining the correct posture. Poor posture can contribute to the development of a hernia by repeatedly straining and weakening certain muscles.
If you have a severe cold or persistent cough, see your doctor to limit the stress that coughing puts on the diaphragm and abdomen.
Obesity increases pressure inside the abdominal cavity, which can both cause hernias and worsen those that already exist.
You can also reduce the risk of herniation by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking. Obesity increases pressure inside the abdominal cavity, which can both cause hernias and worsen those that already exist. Obesity can also make the early identification of hernias difficult. Proper nutrition can also limit your risk for a hernia, by contributing to healthy muscle tissue.
Many hernias occur during bowel movements or urination. Avoid straining and limit the length of visits to the bathroom so that you don't stress and tire the muscles involved in those activities. If you find this impossible, it might be wise to consult your doctor about adjusting your diet. Healthy bowel movements should not be overly involved.
Additionally, it is wise to learn proper lifting technique, and to let others lift objects that are too heavy for you to move without great exertion. This rule also applies in the weight room, where many hernias occur. Stay in your weight-lifting comfort zone, know your limits, and use appropriate safety gear.