Disease: Hiatal hernia


    A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the large muscle separating your abdomen and chest (diaphragm).

    Your diaphragm has a small opening (hiatus) through which your food tube (esophagus) passes before connecting to your stomach. In a hiatal hernia, the stomach pushes up through that opening and into your chest.

    A small hiatal hernia usually doesn't cause problems. You may never know you have one unless your doctor discovers it when checking for another condition.

    But a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to back up into your esophagus, leading to heartburn. Self-care measures or medications can usually relieve these symptoms. A very large hiatal hernia might require surgery.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Most small hiatal hernias cause no signs or symptoms. But larger hiatal hernias can cause:

    • Heartburn
    • Regurgitation of food or liquids into the mouth
    • Backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus (acid reflux)
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Chest or abdominal pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Vomiting of blood or passing of black stools, which may indicate gastrointestinal bleeding

    When to see a doctor

    See your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that worry you.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    A hiatal hernia occurs when weakened muscle tissue allows your stomach to bulge up through your diaphragm. It's not always clear why this happens. But a hiatal hernia might be caused by:

    • Age-related changes in your diaphragm
    • Injury to the area, for example, after trauma or certain types of surgery
    • Being born with an unusually large hiatus
    • Persistent and intense pressure on the surrounding muscles, such as while coughing, vomiting, straining during a bowel movement, exercising or lifting heavy objects

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    A hiatal hernia is often discovered during a test or procedure to determine the cause of heartburn or chest or upper abdominal pain. These tests or procedures include:

    • X-ray of your upper digestive system. X-rays are taken after you drink a chalky liquid that coats and fills the inside lining of your digestive tract. The coating allows your doctor to see a silhouette of your esophagus, stomach and upper intestine.
    • Upper endoscopy. Your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat, to examine the inside of your esophagus and stomach and check for inflammation.
    • Esophageal manometry. This test measures the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow. Esophageal manometry also measures the coordination and force exerted by the muscles of your esophagus.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Lifestyle and home remedies

    Making a few lifestyle changes may help control the symptoms and signs caused by a hiatal hernia. Try to:

    • Eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than a few large meals
    • Avoid foods that trigger heartburn, such as fatty or fried foods, tomato sauce, alcohol, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, and caffeine
    • Avoid lying down after a meal or eating late in the day
    • Eat at least two to three hours before bedtime.
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Stop smoking
    • Elevate the head of your bed 6 inches (about 15 centimeters)

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Risk factors

    Hiatal hernia is most common in people who are:

    • Age 50 or older
    • Obese

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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