Wondering what is a hiatal hernia? Need all the detailed knowledge to decide the right treatment? Are you even suffering from a hiatal hernia? Or is it just what you think it is? Let’s wonder no more. Here, we will explore all that is associated with a hiatal hernia. 

What is a Hiatal Hernia?

In general terms, hiatal hernia is defined as the bulging condition that forms around or above the abdomen area. This lump grows to the chest area and feels uncomfortable. It usually results in pain and uneasiness.

Types of Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernias are significantly classified into two major categories according to the difference in their occurrence. These two types are sliding hernia, which occurs in the upper part of the chest, shifting the abdomen slightly upwards. Whereas, strangulated hernia, does not move the abdomen or the chest but rather squeezes it inside. 

What Are Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

Just as we know the types of hiatal hernia, these types have different signs to identify which one the patient is experiencing. These commonly noticed symptoms of a hiatal hernia are 

  • 1. Bitterness or sourness in the mouth Due to the backflow that occurs because of hiatal hernia, the mouth can feel a difference in taste buds.
  • 2. Quick Hiccups post meals In this condition, as the food can get blocked more often post meals, temporary hiccups are expected. 
  • 3. Heartache or heartburn As the hiatal hernia grows, it often moves upward and causes the sudden sensation of heartache and heartburn 
  • 4. Uneasiness in the throat As much as the sensation is felt in the heart, the throat is caused by an uncomfortable or uneasy feeling. This is because the throat takes in the food to transfer into the intestine, but if the food is trapped, it creates a disturbance in the throat. 
  • 5. Having bad breath Uneasiness of the throat and sourness in the mouth result in bad breath.

Causes and Risk Factors 

The causes and risk factors majorly affecting the hiatal hernia from forming into a lump and giving discomfort are as follows. 

  • 1. Changes in age It is common nowadays that a hernia occurs due to an increase in age, as more adults are found with a hernia. 
  • 2. Due to other surgery Any person who recently got into some other surgeries related to the stomach, the gallbladder or the chest surrounding which the bulging if the hernia is formed might detect hernia post-surgery. 
  • 3. By birth In some cases, infants are found with a lump surrounding the abdomen area. 
  • 4. Injuries of any kind Injuries in the past can also cause multiple ailments or infections, these ailments can directly or indirectly affect the stomach with a hernia.
Risk factors
  • 1. Continuous coughing One of the risks that can quickly develop is through coughing frequently. This can simply put a strain on the abdomen and other organs. 
  • 2. Lifting heavy objects Doing lifting activities regularly, especially with excessive pressure or power can knowingly or unknowingly result in developing a lump above the abdomen area. 
  • 3. Pregnancy Women with pregnancy have multiple risks of developing a hernia or other medical complications. Thus, extra care needs to be taken during this time. 
  • 4. Excessive strain This can happen through heavy lifting, pressure on the abdomen, overeating and continuous coughing. 
  • 5. Smoking habit One who has smoking as an addiction can result in developing a hernia faster 
  • 6. Obesity Weight imbalance can result in causing a hernia. Thus, maintaining a correct balance is essential.

Prevention of Hiatal Hernia 

Hiatal hernia can be kept from occurring if any or all of the following precautions and prevention are taken properly. 

Get into a balanced body weight

The firstmost way to keep yourself safe from developing a hernia is to have a well-balanced weight. This keeps the body away from any ailments.

Avoid alcohol, smoking or caffeine addiction

It is strictly advised to quit anything that becomes easily addicted to you. Something that adds to addiction can be harmful to long-term health. 

Bring changes in diet

While protecting your health from hernia, doctors often suggest a change in diet. Both eliminating what is not healthy or needs to be avoided and adding healthier foods in its place is the right way to take precautions. 

Bring changes in other lifestyles

Along with changing the diet, bring some required changes to other lifestyles as well. This can mean, adding exercising, yoga and meditation to your routine life, having good sleeping habits and right eating habits. 

Changing meal and sleep patterns

As mentioned, giving gaps between meals and going to bed after meals is essential. 

Take smaller bites of food

While having everyday meals start practising taking smaller bites, it helps in better digestion and keeps the stomach healthy.

Hiatal Hernia Cost in India

In India, a hiatal hernia approximately costs around  Rs 55,500 –  Rs 2,50,000. Though this can vary according to different factors and different cities, it is usually covered within the estimated range given. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main cause of hiatal hernia?

When the stomach gots bulged due to the weakened strength of the stomach and its muscle tissues. Thus, in simpler terms, the changes in age show the changes in the diaphragm, this mainly causes the occurrence of a Hiatal hernia. 

What is the best treatment for a hiatal hernia?

Initially, hiatal hernia is commonly treated through changes in diet, regular exercise and care. But, if the symptoms grew and became more visible, the doctor might call for a proper diagnosis and surgery might be suggested. Thus, the most favourable and commonly used advanced surgical treatment for hiatal hernia is Laparoscopic repair hernia also known as keyhole or laparoscopy. 

Do Hiatal hernias go away on their own?

Hiatal hernia, if the symptoms are less, can be given a chance to be corrected by itself. But, if the hernia grows and the bulging increases, it requires surgery to correct the condition. The ideal surgical method used to correct usually is Laparoscopic surgery. 

What are the warning signs of a hiatal hernia?

Hiatal hernia, the visible symptoms or the risk factors involved are such as mild to severe pain in Abdomen or chest, bloatedness, blocking off blood flow, experiencing heartburn, feeling stomach full quicker or vomiting. These are visible signs that the condition is rising and needs urgent treatment. 

What foods should I avoid with a hiatus hernia?

Hiatal hernia can be targeted through foods like spicy food, oily and fried foods, foods with fatty contents, chocolate or citrus foods etc. These foods need to be strictly avoided in case to prevent hernia or to protect it from growing further.

Can a hernia make your stomach big?

Yes, in some cases the hernia can result in the expansion of the stomach and give some pain. Though at the initial stage a hernia and its bulge are harmless but eventually, if it grows, it can result in more complications. 

Does hiatal hernia affect the heart?

At first, the hiatal hernia is formed around the upper part of the abdomen area and chest. But, if the condition expands and grows, this leads to hernia formation larger than expected. The expansion can result in 

Can you drink coffee with a hiatal hernia?

In the case of hiatal hernia, anything that stimulates the stomach such as caffeinated items, acidic items and high-fat content containing foods needs to be strictly avoided. This is even required to avoid the forming of acidic reflux, which is a common symptom of this type of hernia.  

Can a hiatal hernia cause a stroke?

Recent research has revealed that most females, especially those aged above 60 are found to have strokes due to the occurrence of hiatal hernia. 

Can a hiatal hernia hurt in your back?

As there are two different kinds of hiatal hernia. Among these, only a paraesophageal hiatal hernia can hurt directly to the back. Whereas a sliding hernia pain is often felt only to the front.

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