If you are having chest pain or heartburn, there is a possibility that you may be suffering from a hiatal hernia. Though hiatal hernia is usually found in people aged 50 and above, it can affect a person of any age group. The disease is also not confined to any particular gender and is prevalent in men and women.
In most cases, people do not require treatment for hiatal hernia, but medication is prescribed for those who have acid reflux. Some people might have to undergo surgery, especially those with paraesophageal hernia.
If you have any hiatal hernia symptoms, you need to avail treatment at leading hospitals like Max Healthcare, Max Hospital India, BLK-Max, Nanavati Max Hospital and others.
Before we talk about the symptoms of hiatal hernia, it is necessary understand this disease and how is it caused.
Defining hiatal hernia
A hiatal hernia is a medical condition wherein the stomach protrudes into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a skeletal muscle that separates the two body parts – the chest and abdomen. The condition is also known as hiatus hernia because the opening through which the stomach bulges in the chest is called hiatus.
Hiatal hernia is of two types – sliding and paraesophageal. A brief description of the two conditions is mentioned below.
A sliding hiatal hernia occurs when a part of the esophagus and the stomach slide or are pushed up into the chest via the diaphragm.
A paraesophageal hernia is when a stomach’s section presses through the hiatus and occupies a place next to the esophagus. This is a severe condition and is also known as strangulated hernia.
Identifying symptoms of hartal hernia
In most cases, people suffering from hiatal hernia will exhibit no symptoms. However, in some people, symptoms do show up. Some symptoms that are indicative of hiatal hernia and you need to be aware of include:
- Heartburn is one of the symptoms of a hiatal hernia.
- Difficulty in swallowing food.
- Experiencing shortness of breath.
- Acid reflux is a condition where the stomach acid will flow back to the esophagus.
- Chest pain
- Bad taste in the mouth.
- The food will regurgitate in the mouth.
- Vomiting blood
Many of these symptoms are also associated with other ailments and conditions like a bad taste in the mouth, often associated with poor dental hygiene. But these symptoms also indicate that you may be suffering from a hiatal hernia and need immediate treatment.
If either you or someone close to you shows one or more of these symptoms, do not hesitate to contact a doctor at Max Healthcare, Max Hospital India, BLK-Max, Nanavati Max Hospital or any other reputed hospital.
Causes of hiatal hernia
Besides being aware of the symptoms of the disease, it is also vital to ascertain the causes that give rise to hiatal hernia. The condition results from the stomach protruding up through an opening in the diaphragm. Some causes that lead to this condition are:
- Changes in the diaphragm due to advancing age
- A congenital defect like a very large hiatus
- Strenuous activities like lifting heavy objects can increase pressure inside the abdominal cavity. Ailments like coughing or vomiting can put pressure on the muscles.
Hiatal hernia can affect anyone, but people who are obese or above 50 are more prone to the disease.
Getting treated for hiatus hernia
Once you have identified the symptoms, you will meet a doctor who will suggest a treatment. The doctor will prescribe medication that will improve the issues of acid reflux.
- Antacids are effective medicines that help in weakening or neutralising stomach acid.
- Medicines that lessen acid production
- More portent medicines that help block acid production, thereby enabling the esophagus to heal.
Besides medication, you can also adopt specific lifestyle changes to improve your condition. These include:
- Losing extra weight
- Quitting smoking
- Having smaller meals
- Either avoiding or reducing the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, vinegar, fried foods and other substances that increase the risk of acid reflux.
- Excluding acidic foods from your diet
- Make it a habit not to lie down immediately after a meal.
If the condition assumes serious proportions, the patient may undergo surgery. The doctor recommends surgery if medication is ineffective.
In most people, symptoms do not show, and no treatment is required. But if you come across any symptoms, take prompt action. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications from arising. It is also necessary to adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
If you or anyone you know has a hiatal hernia, get treatment at leading healthcare institutions like Max Healthcare, BLK-Max, Max Hospital India etc. Superior medical infrastructure and highly qualified doctors make Max Healthcare one of the best hospital chains in the country. So do not delay treatment. Contact your doctor today.