The qualities you should look for in an abdominal binder vary according to its intended use. The most important factor to keep in mind, regardless of what you'll use the belt for, is to ensure that you choose one that is sized correctly. The ideal abdominal binder should provide adequate abdominal compression, be lightweight and made from a strong, durable and comfortable material. An abdominal binder with a Velcro fastener is also easier to put on and remove.
Measuring yourself to ensure that you acquire the right size of abdominal binder is a very simple process. The most important thing to remember is to choose your size based on the largest section of your abdomen. Measure the fullest part of your upper abdomen, hips or waist. A correctly sized binder will provide adequate support without being too restrictive.
Abdominal binders are used in a variety of circumstances. Some are used after surgery while others provide abdominal support during or after pregnancy. Binders are also used to alleviate back pain and to help support the spine. Hernia belts are another form of abdominal binder and are generally used to provide abdominal compression to help minimize the protrusion. A hernia can be 'reduced' or put back through the use of one of these binders.
A post-operative binder works by applying pressure to the site of the incision and helps to increase blood flow and reduce swelling. Post-operative binders are worn in two stages: stage one must be worn continuously for two weeks following surgery, except when showering or having a bath. Stage two binders are worn for two to eight weeks after surgery, these binders are generally smaller and less bulky than a stage one binder.
Postpartum abdominal binders are designed to constantly readjust to the body's changing measurements during and after pregnancy. These binders range in size from 28 inches (about 70 cm) to 60 inches (about 152 cm). In order to determine the size you'll need you need to measure around your belly at bellybutton level. The height of the binder you choose will be determined by your torso length. Most patients start wearing the postpartum binder a day or two after giving birth and continue its use for four to eight weeks.
When choosing a hernia belt or hernia truss it is important to check whether the belt has one or two pads and that these correspond to the hernia site. Some hernia belts feature detachable pads that can be placed on one or both sides, providing extra versatility. Hernia belts should not be used on non-reducible hernias, and if at any time you experience sudden, severe pain, discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately.