A hiatal hernia describes what happens when the upper portion of your stomach bulges through the diaphragm, which is the large muscle separating the chest from the abdomen. There is a small opening in the diaphragm, called the hiatus, and the esophagus passes through this opening before it connects to the stomach. When the stomach pushes through this opening and into the chest, hiatal hernia is the result.
If you have a minor hiatal hernia, you may never know. Larger hiatal hernias, on the other hand, can cause noticeable symptoms.
What causes hiatal hernia?
Hiatal hernia is a result of weakened muscles, which allow the stomach to bulge through the diaphragm. This can be caused by aging or injury from trauma or surgery. Other potential causes of hiatal hernia include being born with an abnormally large hiatus or suffering from intense pressure from vomiting, coughing, straining during bowel movements, or lifting heavy objects.
Is a hiatal hernia dangerous?
While it sounds serious, a hiatal hernia actually doesn’t cause symptoms in most cases. Many people who experience a hiatal hernia won’t need treatment.
What sort of treatment is used for hiatal hernia in cases where treatment is necessary?
If you have ongoing symptoms like acid reflux, you may require medications or surgery to treat hiatal hernia. Your doctor may prescribe medications to neutralize stomach acid, reduce acid production, or block the production of acid. If medication does not improve symptoms or if you have serious complications, such as significant inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus, your doctor may perform surgery. For example, surgery can allow your doctor to pull the stomach back down into the abdomen and reduce the size of the opening in the diaphragm.
- “I had symptoms of acid reflux, and it felt like I was regurgitating food back into my mouth.”
- “I experienced heartburn, and I was having trouble swallowing food.”
- “I had chest pain and shortness of breath.ausea and vomiting.”