Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is formed when the stomach pushes through the abdominal muscles (diaphragm) which separate the chest from the abdomen.

Hiatal hernia surgery is recommended in case of large Hiatal hernia or some cases of small hiatal hernia. 

And the surgery for hiatal hernia repair involves positioning the stomach by pulling it down into the abdomen, restoring the optimal size of the diaphragm, rebuilding the esophageal sphincter, or cutting off the hernia sac.

Are you looking for a doctor consultation? Consult our doctor at Medfin to know your treatment options.

What is Hiatal Hernia?

A hiatal hernia is formed when the stomach pushes through the abdominal muscles (diaphragm) which separate the chest from the abdomen.

A small opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus allows the passage of the food tube (oesophagus) which connects to the stomach. 

The stomach pushes up into the chest through this opening. The population of people above the age of 50 are more prone to the formation of this condition.

A small hiatal hernia may never cause symptoms until the doctor diagnoses it while evaluating for another condition.

A large hiatal hernia can cause stomach acid reflux into the oesophagus, resulting in heartburn. 

The symptoms of this can be resolved by medication and precautions. However, in case of a very large hiatal hernia the doctor may recommend surgery.

What are the Causes of Hiatal Hernia?

It is not clear why Hiatal hernias form. Though, it seems to be a result of weakened muscle tissue of the diaphragm which allows the stomach to push up into the chest cavity. 

Certain causes that lead to its formation are:

  • ​An injury in that area, a result of surgery or trauma.
  • A large-sized hiatus at birth.
  • The age-associated weakening of muscles surrounding the hiatus.
  • Consistent and extreme pressure on the muscles around the hiatus, a consequence of vomiting, coughing, strained bowel movements, heavy weight-lifting, or rigorous exercising. 
  • Smoking and obesity can increase the risk of its occurrence.

What are the Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia?

Only large-sized Hiatal hernias are known to cause symptoms as listed below:

  • ​Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Regurgitation of food or liquid consumed back into the mouth.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Reflux of stomach acid into the oesophagus.
  • Heartburn which worsens on leaning or lying down.
  • Abdominal or chest pain.
  • Vomiting blood or passing black stools (an indicator of gastrointestinal bleeding).

It is advisable to see a doctor if there are signs of the above symptoms to avoid complications in the future.

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