Gastroenterology

Hiatus Hernia

Introduction to Hiatus Hernia

A Hiatus Hernia or Hiatal Hernia is a condition in which part of a person’s stomach pushes upward through a small opening in the diaphragm.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is a Hiatus Hernia?

A Hiatus Hernia or Hiatal Hernia is a condition in which part of a person’s stomach pushes upward through a small opening in the diaphragm. Diaphragm is adome shaped muscle that separates the abdominal organs below (like stomach and intestines) from thoracic organs above such as heart and lungs. Hiatus hernias often cause heartburn but may also cause chest pain or pain while eating. A small hiatal hernia usually doesn’t cause problems, however a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to rise up into your esophagus, leading to heartburn. Care or medications can provide symptomatic relief, while a very large hiatal hernia may sometimes require surgery. It is more common in people of over 50 years of age, pregnant women or overweight people. According to estimates almost 33% people over the age of 50 are affected by it.

What causes a Hiatus Hernia?

A hiatal hernia is caused by stomach being pushed up through the diaphragm due to weakened muscle tissues. It’s not always obvious why this happens, but pressure on your stomach and age-related changes in your diaphragm may contribute to hiatal hernia.

What are the symptoms of a Hiatus Hernia?

Most small hiatal hernias might have no symptoms. Large hiatal hernias may cause symptoms such as: heartburn, chest or abdominal pain, feeling very full after eating, vomiting blood or passing black stool, belching or experiencing difficulty swallowing.

How is a Hiatus Hernia treated?

Surgery may be needed as an alternate to long-term medication or if other treatments are unsuccessful. It is however preferable to change lifestyle and/or use medication. Lifestyle changes may include: eating frequent, smaller meals and avoiding lying down immediately after eating or drinking, also preventing intake of foods or drinks that make symptoms worse.

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