Hiatal Hernia

A hernia is labeled as such when there is a part of the body, internally, that pushes into an area in which it should not be. A hiatal hernia happens when the stomach, the upper portion, pushes into the diaphragm in the chest area. Those who suffer from this are usually over the age of 50 years old. According to the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association or ECAA, 60% of people are affected with this by the time that they are 60 years of age.

What Is Hiatal Hernia?

In the diaphragm, there is a small opening, which is called a hiatus. This is where the esophagus passes to the stomach. When a hiatal hernia occurs, the stomach pushes up through the hiatus, causing this type of hernia. Those who get a hiatal hernia often times do not even know they have this, unless their doctor happens to find this when checking for something else. However, this is only when the hernia is small. When a large hiatal hernia occurs, this can lead to heartburn as the stomach acid can back up into the esophagus easily. Usually, a person can find some relieve through the use of over the counter medications. However, there are times in which this hernia is so large, that requires surgery in order to repair this.

Types of Hiatal Hernia

There are two different types of hiatal hernias that a person can have. The Sliding Hiatal Hernia is the more common of the two, and it is also the smallest hernia that the person can get in this area. Usually, the hernia slides in and out of the hole, without ever really causing the person any problems. The Fixed Hiatal Hernia results in the stomach staying put in the hole, rather than sliding in and out. This type of hernia is rare, and when it does happen it can be serious, as the stomach sticking in the hole can result in restricted blood flow to the stomach. This is an emergency situation that is going to need surgery.

What Are the Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia?

It is important to note that many times a hiatal hernia is not going to cause any types of symptoms. The person may have this and rarely know. However, when symptoms do occur, they range in how painful they are. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Belching
  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn that is often worse upon lying down
  • Trouble swallowing

When to See a Doctor

There are times in which these symptoms need to have medical attention right away. For example, when dealing with a fixed hiatal hernia if the stomach blood flow becomes blocked this could lead to nausea, vomiting, feeling as though you can’t breathe, and being unable to pass gas or have a bowel movement. When these symptoms happen, you need to call a doctor, as this could be a serious issue.

Also note that just because you have chest pain that this should be overlooked. Chest pain can also happen when dealing with heart issues, which means getting medical attention as soon as possible.

What Are the Causes of Hiatal Hernia?

There are several causes that have been identified when it comes to a hiatal hernia. These causes are:

  • A large opening in the diaphragm, which results in the stomach easily able to slip up through this opening. This is perhaps the most common cause in those who have a hiatal hernia.
  • The stomach pulling up due to a short esophagus which leads the stomach more easily able to slip through the hiatus.
  • The esophagus not being attached very well to the stomach, allowing the stomach to easily slip through the opening.
  • Any kind of pressure in the abdomen such as an obstruction, obesity or anything else that can lead the stomach to be forced upwards.

What Are the Treatments for Hiatal Hernias?

There are several people who never know that they have a hiatal hernia, due to the fact that in many people they never have to deal with signs of this, thus never experience any problems with this issue. For those who do there are medical treatments, as well as surgical treatments that they can consider. The medical treatments that are often used are:

  • Antacids to help with the stomach acid which can decrease the pain the person feels
  • H-2 receptor blockers that work to simply reduce the production of acid
  • Proton pump inhibitors work with the body to stop the production of acid

All of the medical treatments are meant to help with the acid buildup that can cause heart burn and other symptoms.

The surgical treatment that a person has is meant to help correct the reason why the hernia has occurred. For example, the person may have their esophagus attached more firmly to their stomach, they may have their esophagus stretched or they may have the hiatal opening decreased in size to prevent the stomach from entering. The surgical options are often a last resort when it is believed that this hernia is causing severe health issues.

What Are the Home Remedies for Hiatal Hernia?

There are several remedies that you can do for your hiatal hernia at home that are going to work well in controlling the symptoms and helping you to feel better. A few of these home remedies include:

  • Avoid eating foods that can make this hernia worse. For example, chocolate, fried foods, alcohol, and caffeine
  • Avoiding eating any food when going to bed in 2 to 3 hours
  • Eat more smaller meals throughout the day, rather than large meals at once
  • Sleep in an inclined position, with your head at least 4 to 6 inches up above your chest
  • Do not slouch while seating, as this can make it easier for the stomach to enter into the hiatal opening
  • Try not to lift a lot of heavy items or strain yourself in any way
  • Lose weight to decrease any weight related issues

Watch the video below for to learn how to relieve hiatal hernia by self-adjustment:


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