What is a Hiatal Hernia? Diagnosis, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

No one likes the thought of having your insides bulge out of your body, but small and large hiatal hernia problems are common. Some might require treatment and with less dramatic one, you can go without surgery.

Understanding What is a Hiatal Hernia?

Imagine the top half of your stomach heaving out through an abdominal or chest muscle separation. Understanding what is a hiatal hernia isn’t hard. The diaphragm features a small opening that is commonly referred to as the hiatus.

When you swallow, food passes down the esophagus, travels downward and through the hiatus until it reaches the stomach. When a hernia (weakness) in the hiatus’s wall occurs your stomach shoves its way up and through the opening until it reaches the chest cavity.

Undergoing a Hiatal Hernia Diagnosis

You might remain oblivious to a miniature hiatal, but the hefty one causes significantly more unpleasantness. With a sizable hiatal, every time you dine, the food and digestive acid reverses directly and bubbles upward directly into the esophagus which causes you to experience a bout of heartburn. Garnering a hiatal hernia diagnosis, you might face ingestion-based gerd which causes heartburn, burping/belching, sore mouth, and chest pain or tight sensation The constant pressure and pushing of the stomach hernia on the respiratory system lead to breathing problems.

Types of hiatal hernias:

  • Sliding: With this variation the tummy and gastroesophageal junction slip and push up into the chest. Smokers, women over 50 and those over 50. Anyone with persistent vomiting, coughing, late trimester pregnancy, defecating, and weight training are at risk.
  • Paraesophageal: The stomach folds and shoves into the chest and becomes pinched. These are risky and can lead to strangulation.

What are Hiatal Hernia Causes?

The exact cause of the structural weakness that leads to the small and large hiatal hernia remains obscured. Hiatal hernia causes appear to be an increase in pressure that escalates within the abdominal cavity. The colon, intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, rectum, stomach, and spleen can all put pressure on the upper portion causing an esophageal hernia. If you frequently vomit, suffer coughing fits, strain while taking a bowel movement, physically strain your torso, and perform heavy lifting then you can cause damage. Also, obesity, pregnancy, or fluid buildup all lead to a hiatus hernia.

Symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia

Digestive juices bubbling up lead to a burning sensation in the chest and throat. This one of many symptoms of a hiatal hernia.

  • Pain in the stomach
  • Heated esophagus
  • Bloating
  • Bitter or foul taste in the mouth and throat
  • Constant belching
  • Feeling bloated
  • Chest pain
  • Bad breath
  • The wearing away of enamel on teeth
  • Regurgitation
  • Backflow of stomach acid
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Backflow of acid
  • Breathing issues

What Does a Hiatal Hernia Feel Like?

Many report pain that radiates from the neck to the middle of the chest. They have also reported heartburn, dizziness after eating, and stomach pain.

Receiving Hiatal Hernia Treatment

Many opt to take pharmaceutical medications and over-the-counter products to cope with the problem. Antacids, chewable, and liquid all lower the acidity. They have reported alginate products to help by forming a foamy gel that acts as a barrier to acid. Lansoprazole might also be prescribed.

Surgery remains an option but is usually only a last choice in hiatal hernia treatment. It is undertaken when blood supply becomes disrupted. Laparoscopic procedures are used which are less invasive. A laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication (LNF) is used. The procedure lasts up to 90 minutes. The stomach is repositioned, and the diaphragm tightened. An improvement of 90 percent has been reported.

Strangulated Hernia

Strangulation of the hernia is a serious and potentially life-threatening occurrence. Severe symptoms occur and seek immediate medical help.

  • Excruciating pain
  • High fever
  • Inflammation
  • Color changes
  • Burning sensation
  • Severe fatigue

Natural Treatment: Foods to Avoid

Who doesn’t like to sit down to a hearty meal? If you have a hiatus hernia, then you need to watch what you eat.

Foods not to eat and what aggravates:

  • Pop (carbonated liquids like soda)
  • Milk or Dark Chocolate
  • Fried foods
  • Cranberry juices
  • Teas with caffeine
  • Fatty meat
  • Oranges
  • Spicy foods
  • Garlic (cloves or added to foods)
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruits
  • Kefir
  • Energy drinks
  • Coffee (unless decaffeinated)
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Cheese
  • Lemons
  • Butter
  • Oil

Additional cooking tips:

  • Always bake or broil
  • Skim off all fat
  • Steam your veggies
  • Use low fat such as yogurt or milk
  • Use lean meats like ground turkey, chuck, sirloin, loin, and skinless chicken, lean pork, loin, or tenderloin
  • Avoid over seasoning
  • Limit creaming sauces
  • Do not use excessive butter
  • Avoid overeating
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages
  • Do not lay down or go to bed after eating
  • Use wood blocks to raise the head of your bed so you sleep in a more upright position
  • Wear only loose clothing that does not constrict your abdomen
  • Take a fiber supplement
  • Focus on a diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Stay hydrated with at least eight glasses of water per day

The three key components to living with a hiatal are to focus on hydration, diet modification, and weight control. You will probably not require surgery if you make smart lifestyle choices.

Being diagnosed with a hiatal hernia is not the end of the world. Yes, the doctor visits can be costly. Be sure to check your bill so you can make sure the insurance is being billed correctly. Look for icd 10 for hiatal hernia are billing codes. Most insurance companies cover hernia care and treatment.




Article References:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311963.php
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hiatal-hernia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373379
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8098-hiatal-hernia/outlook–prognosis
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/hiatal-hernia-a-to-z
  5. https://medlineplus.gov/hiatalhernia.html