A hiatal hernia is a condition where a part of the stomach protrudes through the hiatus, a small opening in the diaphragm, and enters the chest cavity. It is quite common in the United States. The esophagus, or food tube, passes through this opening before connecting to the stomach. If you suspect that you may be experiencing symptoms of a hiatal hernia, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our specialists at a convenient location near you.
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:
– 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
– Straining during a bowel movement
– Lifting heavy weights
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
Most people with small hiatal hernias will not need any treatment, but our specialists are ready to provide care when needed. If you are experiencing symptoms, the most common treatments for a hiatal hernia include:
– Antacid medications
– 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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