Stomach Hernia:
Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

A stomach hernia is more commonly known as hiatal hernia.

It is the protrusion or herniation of the upper section of your stomach into your thorax through a weakness or opening in your diaphragm.

In layman's terms this means that a part of your body protrudes through an opening into another part.

And a hiatal hernia is when part of the stomach pushes through an opening in your diaphragm.

Hiatal hernias are present in approximately 15 percent of the population in the United States, but they rarely cause trouble.

In some cases a large opening can allow food and acid to get into your esophagus, and this can lead to heartburn and chest pain. Medication is usually used to relieve these symptoms, but sometimes a large opening can need surgery.

Symptoms

The majority of small hiatal hernias never cause any problems and you wouldn't even know you had one unless your doctor discovered it by accident.

Large hernias on the other hand may cause problems and they may get worse when you lean forward, strain, lift heavy objects or lie down.

Here are a few symptoms that can pop up:

  • Belching
  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Regurgitation

In some rare cases there may be further complications that can cause the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Obstruction of your esophagus
  • Severe chest pain

Causes & Treatment

The cause of stomach hernias is unknown. Some develop a hiatal hernia after an injury, others are born with it and some develop it through regular activities.

There doesn't seem to be much you can do to prevent it. Your doctor will present different treatment options to you depending on how severe your hiatal hernia is and how much it is bothering you.

Here are some advice and treatment options available depending on the severity of your condition:

  • Avoid lying down after meals
  • Mild symptoms are often relieved by medication
  • Reduce stress if the condition has been brought on by stress
  • If the condition is serious, surgery may be required

When to See a Doctor

Most are not even aware that they have a hiatal hernia until they go to see their doctor about excessive belching, mild chest pains or heart burn.

If your symptoms become intense and severe and are accompanied by:

  • Asthma
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat

You should talk to your doctor immediately, especially if you have trouble breathing, swallowing or have intense chest pains.

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References

1: Mayo Clinic - Hitala Hernia
2: MedicineNet - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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