Hiatal Hernia

Stomach Hernia

What Is It And How Do I Treat It?

Hiatal hernia is a simple disorder where the stomach is pushed through the hiatus. The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm where typically the esophagus passes through to reach the stomach. Typically there are two types of hiatal hernia: sliding and paraesophageal.

Sliding- Sliding hiatal hernia is more common than paraesophageal. It is when both the stomach and the lower esophagus that connects to the stomach push up into the chest.

Paraesophageal- Paraesophageal hiatal hernia is less common but is of more concern. It is when the stomach pushes up through the hiatus and next to the esophagus. This can cut blood circulation to the stomach and cause acid and food reflux (when the acid and/or food go back into the esophagus and cause burning, GERD).

Often times hernia shows no symptoms and does not have to be treated but it can cut blood flow to the stomach and pose a threat to health. If this happens, surgery is usually recommended. If the patient shows symptoms of acid reflux, doctors give medicine block or neutralize the stomach acid. Surgery is usually done after trying medicinal treatment.

What is a hiatal hernia?


Although hiatal hernia, when small, can be silent with no symptoms, it can evolve into a much more serious disorder with obvious symptoms such as:

-heart burn, chest pains or burning

-nausea, dry heaving, and burping

-rapid moments of salivation

-difficulty swallowing

-vomiting or vomiting blood

-passing black stool

most symptoms are caused by acid reflux into the esophagus instead of the stomach protruding into the hiatal area of the diaphragm.

Hiatal hernia is often found incidentally in x-rays, EGD, or Ct scans because of the more common hiatal hernia that doesn't show any symptoms.

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Hiatal hernia is usually a response to weakened muscle tissue in the diaphragm. It allows for the stomach to push through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus where normally the lower sphincter of the esophagus would be.

Although it is not always clear, hiatal hernia can be the reaction to:

-injury to the area

-constant straining of muscles in the area

-being born with an abnormally large hiatus

Hiatal hernia is also more common in older persons (50 and higher) as well as persons with obesity.

Further Questions

What can I do at home to help with these symptoms?

- eat smaller meals but more often, elevate the head of your bed (about 6 inches), no smoking, no spicy foods or foods that trigger heartburn, avoid alcohol

Are there any alternate techniques for hiatal hernia?

- Some believe that they can push the stomach back into it's original position but there have been no clinical trial research supporting this.


MSmc'dice56 says:

I have been coping with hiatal hernia since I was 16. Nobody can tell I have hiatal hernia because I've gotten really lucky with it not being that bad. Every now and then I'll choke on my food but things have gotten better. My chest used to burn but I went and asked my doctor about it and he gave me some over-the-counter meds to soothe the pain. After a while the problem persisted and he gave me some more medicine to neutralize and block the acid pushing back into my esophagus. Now I'm not in as much pain as I used to be (I'll just cough every now and then) and I really don't have any symptoms other than coughing every now and then or maybe choking on a piece of food for a second. And although these are all minor things, I've now changed my lifestyle a little bit to ease my way through hiatal hernia. Today I ate probably five meals, but they were all snacks really. More like large snacks. I feel better too, I don't consume chocolates, caffeine, or alcohol. Though I try and stay away from citrus fruits or tomato ingredients or onions. Despite sleeping on a ever so slightly elevated bed and different eating schedule, nobody really notices I have hiatal hernia. My family still makes sure I am okay but it's all precautionary. Although they do wonder why I eat so little when I go to restaurants now that I think about it. And so all in all I'm pretty lucky, and I'm happy with not having any major issues with the hernia anymore. I seem happy and I've gotten used to any changes made to my lifestyle, some would even be beneficiary to everyone too.