Hiatal Hernia: Know Causes, Symptoms, Types and Prevention

Hiatal hernia is caused in both men and women. Understand more about this health condition from doctor in this article.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Aug 30, 2021Updated at: Aug 30, 2021
Hiatal Hernia: Know Causes, Symptoms, Types and Prevention

Hiatus Hernia is a common condition in India, affecting both men and women. When a part of the stomach moves upwards into the chest, it causes hiatal hernia. In most cases, the condition has mild symptoms but if it leads to severe discomfort the hernia is removed through surgery. Sometimes hiatal hernia causes very mild symptoms like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), heartburn, acid reflux and these symptoms can be easily treated with medication and certain lifestyle changes. Acording to Dr. Vijay Chandra Reddy, Upper GI, General and Laparoscopic Surgeon at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, hiatal hernia may require surgery and further assessment when symptoms are accelerated and do not respond to medication. A strangulated hiatal hernia can be a complication of an advanced stage in which the blood supply to hernia tissue is cut off. 

What causes Hiatal Hernia?

Here are some possible causes of hiatal hernia:

  • Pregnancy: A hiatal hernia could occur as a result of decreased abdominal muscle tone and increased pressure within the abdominal cavity during pregnancy. Obese people and pregnant women, for example, may be at a higher risk of having a hiatal hernia.
  • Constipation and vomiting: When people have frequent vomiting or constipation and strain to have a bowel movement, the intra-abdominal pressure rises, weakening the phrenoesophageal membrane.
  • Ascites- It is an abnormal collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity that is common in people with liver failure and can also lead to a hiatal hernia.
  • Ageing - Ageing makes the body more susceptible to conditions like Hiatal Hernia
Hiatal Hernia

Types of Hiatal Hernia

Sliding hiatal hernia: The most common kind of hiatal hernia. The gap causes the stomach and oesophagus to slip into the chest. Sliding hernias are often tiny. They don't normally create any symptoms and may not require treatment.

Fixed hiatal hernia: This is a less prevalent kind of hernia. Part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm and stays there in a fixed hernia. The majority of cases are not severe but would require medical assessment. 

Also Read: How is Hernia Caused? Know Symptoms and Treatment Method

What are the symptoms of Hiatal Hernia?

Hiatal Hernia symptoms

Sometimes this disease doesn't show any symptoms. But the common symptoms are -

  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) causes heartburn 
  • Pain in the chest
  • Bloating/ Burping
  • Having difficulty swallowing
  • Bad taste in mouth.
  • Vomiting and an upset stomach
  • Backflow of food or liquid from your stomach into the mouth
  • Shortness of breath

How to prevent hiatal hernia?

Like many disorders, even Hiatal Hernia can be prevented by making small changes. Here are a few steps you can take to keep Hiatal Hernias at bay: 

prevent hiatal hernia

  • Instead of eating 3 big meals a day, consume 5 small meals throughout the  day. his will prevent the stomach from extending and avoid pushing acid upward.
  • Junk food is harmful to our health in many ways and avoiding it can  also help in preventing hiatal hernia.
  • Do not consume any food right before bed and ensure that all the meal is consumed at least 2 to 3 hrs before bedtime.
  • Maintain healthy body weight 
  • Get help while lifting heavy objects
  • Avoid wearing tight belts and certain abdominal exercises
  • Do not strain during bowel movements 

Conclusion

Hiatal hernia is a common condition, especially in older people. It has a distinct symptomatology, and with the right methodology, radiologic diagnosis is straightforward. Its symptoms are rarely unbearable, and in the vast majority of instances, conservative treatment will suffice.

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