Increase Your Knowledge About Hiatal Hernias

In the human body, the abdomen and chest are separated by a large muscle called a diaphragm. But since food has to pass through from the esophagus into the stomach, there is a small opening within the diaphragm called a hiatus.

This hiatus is positioned a short distance above the stomach entrance. However, there is just enough space for the stomach acid and food that a person eats to both remain where they are supposed to. Occasionally, a hiatal hernia can occur that disrupts this connection though. A hiatal hernia is a condition wherein the stomach pushes up through the hiatus so that it sticks outside the diaphragm. This is problematic because it allows acid and food to wash up into the esophagus, which causes a great deal of discomfort and irritation. Sometimes, there might not be any signs that anything is wrong at first though, especially if the hiatal hernia is still small. Overtime, it can worsen though. So it is important that those who are obese, pregnant, or suffering from a condition that causes weak abdominal muscles know about the symptoms that a hiatal hernia can cause and some of the answers to questions that people often ask their doctor about it.

What Are the Symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia?

Small hiatal hernias don't cause symptoms at first. The only way that a person finds out that they have one is often through a routine medical exam or testing done for another health condition. Larger hiatal hernias allow acid to wash up into the esophagus though. This causes heartburn and damage to the lining of the tube. At first, a person may try taking antacids or changing their diet in order to treat it. But these methods do little to help because they don't take care of the main source of the problem. The only effective cure for a hiatal hernia is surgery to push the stomach down where it should be and stitch up the hiatus so that it is back to its proper size.

Questions and Answers

While the above mentioned information gives details about hiatal hernias and their symptoms, those who are diagnosed with this condition often ask their doctor some of the following questions about it:

Q: Will a hiatal hernia heal on its own?

A: No. Once the stomach pushes up through the hiatus, it can only be brought back to its correct position through surgery. There is no other way of manipulating it into place.

Q: Can a hiatal hernia return after surgery is done to repair it?

A: Yes. If a person suffers from obesity, their excess abdominal weight may put too much pressure on the esophagus and hiatus. So it is highly plausible that it could tear open again.

Q: Are there any natural methods of treating a hiatal hernia?

A: The only potential natural remedies that can be used for a hiatal hernia are for the symptoms that a person has from the condition. For example, mint tea may help alleviate heartburn and nausea.

Q: Who has the highest risk of developing a hiatal hernia?

A: Those who are morbidly obese have the highest risk of developing this condition. It can happen in women who are pregnant with multiple babies too though because of the sudden extra stress on their abdomen from their protruding uterus.

Q: What is the long-term prognosis of a hiatal hernia?

A: This condition is highly treatable. So, after a person has surgery to repair the diaphragm and hiatus, they can often return back to their regular activities once their body has completely healed.

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