Hiatal Hernia

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What is a hiatal hernia?

Hiatal hernias are common in the United States. Your esophagus (food tube) passes through a small opening in your diaphragm before it attaches to your stomach. This small hole is called the hiatus. A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of your stomach pushes up through the hiatus and enters your chest cavity. If you think you have symptoms that point to a hiatal hernia, schedule an appointment at one of our GI Alliance locations today to get in with a gastrointestinal physician.

A hiatal hernia is often caused by weakened muscles and connective tissue within and around the hiatus. The most common causes and risk factors for a hiatal hernia include:

  • Obesity
  • Age-related changes in your diaphragm
  • Injury to your hiatus from trauma or surgery
  • People over the age of 50
  • Born with an unusually large hiatus
  • Excessive coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Lifting heavy weights

What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

The symptoms of a hiatal hernia can vary based on the severity of the condition. However, there are a few common signs that are seen when a hiatal hernia is present. These can include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting blood
  • Blackened stools

How are hiatal hernias treated?

Most people with small hiatal hernias will not need any treatment, but our specialists at GI Alliance are ready to provide care when needed. If you are experiencing symptoms, the most common treatments for a hiatal hernia include:

  • Antacid medications
  • Surgery
  • Stop Smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce acid reflux with diet
  • Sleep with your head elevated
  • Avoid lying down after a meal
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Enhance your digestive wellness

At GI Alliance, we are dedicated to helping you and your loved ones find the solutions you need for improved gastrointestinal health. If you’ve been experiencing persistent heartburn that you’ve been unable to manage, contact a GI Alliance location in your community to schedule an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists.

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