Experiences of support garments following bowel stoma formation: Analysis of free text responses in a cross sectional survey

Gill Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Aim To explore the experiences of support garments when adjusting to bodily change following bowel stoma formation.
Design Thematic analyses of free-text responses in a cross-sectional survey of the stoma population in 2018.
Methods Free-text responses were invited so that respondents could describe their experiences in more detail. A process of induction was chosen to allow for themes to emerge directly from the data. The concept ‘embodiment’ was used as a theoretical framework during interpretation.
Results 1425 people with a bowel stoma responded to the survey, of whom 598 provided free-text responses. Four themes about experiences of support garments in the context of changed bodily experiences following stoma formation were identified: body complications, which is about experiences of using support garments to prevent or self-manage parastomal hernia; body appearance, which is about hiding the stoma and stoma appliance; body function, which is about managing stoma appliance complications; and body sensation, which is mainly about negative experiences of ill-fitting garments.
Conclusion Support garments can be understood as items that are used by people during an ongoing process of adjusting to bodily changes following stoma formation and as part of an ongoing process of reconstructing new embodied selves.
Impact This is the first study to explore people’s experiences of support garments following bowel stoma formation. Support garments are used in the self-management of body complications, appearance, function and sensations. Stoma nurses may draw on the findings of this study to advise patients about the benefits of garments for adjusting to bodily change, and garment suppliers should address people’s negative experiences by improving garments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open Gastroenterology
Early online date14 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


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