Binging on food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, if you are feeling some discomfort after eating too much food that might be a sign of Hiatal hernia.
Hernia is a familiar term for a medical condition wherein an internal organ is pushed into a body part where it doesn’t belong.Hiatus is an opening located in the diaphragm which is right at the end of the esophagus. The esophagus is where the food passes from the mouth to the stomach. The diaphragm is the muscular wall that separates the chest cavity from the stomach. Hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach pushes up into that opening, the Hiatus, causing a bulge in the chest.
Types of Hiatal Hernia
There are two kinds of Hiatal hernia, the Sliding and the Paraesophageal.
The more common kind of Hiatal hernia is called the Sliding. This happens when the stomach, along with a portion of the esophagus, slides up entering the chest via the Hiatus.
In the other type, the Paraesophageal, the Hiatus opening is larger. Both the stomach and the esophagus stays in place but a portion of the stomach pushes thru the hiatus. That portion situates itself in the chest next to the esophagus where normally it shouldn’t be. Although this type of hernia may not manifest any kind of symptoms, it is equally hazardous. The stomach gets squeezed because its blood supply gets cut off.
Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia
Heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are symptoms that you are afflicted with Hiatal Hernia.
Acid reflux occurs when the stomach acids gets pushed back up and enters into the esophagus.The digestive fluids create a sensation of heartburn or chest pains that are similar to the feeling of having a heart attack. If this condition worsens and becomes chronic, it develops into GERD or gastroesphageal reflux disease. GERD is also referred to as gastro-intestinal reflux disease in other medical resources.
Pain in the abdomen or chest particularly behind the breast bone, difficulty in swallowing, nausea, belching, burping and feeling bloated after a full meal are the immediate signs that you have these type of intestinal illnesses. These symptoms are at its worst especially after heavy meals and aggravated by lying down flat after eating.
In more severe cases, passing dark stools and vomiting may indicate that there is gastrointestinal bleeding. Some people also experience waterbrash. It is the sudden appearance of an unusual large amount of saliva in the person’s mouth. This is brought about by the stimulation of the acid during the reflux. The saliva comes with a sour or acidic taste.
Causes of Hiatal Hernia
Though Hiatal Hernia is considered a common disease that occurs frequently among the population, there are a lot of probable causes that could lead to it.
According to some medical studies, age plays a factor to the cause of Hiatal Hernia. People over the age of 50 are susceptible to this type of disease. At this age, the body tends to deteriorate and leads to a twist in its structure. If a person is born with a natural twist in their body structure their condition worsens as they get older because ofaccumulated stress, injuries and even due to the force of gravity. This affects the natural curve of the diaphragm. This could be the reason why the stomach pushes into the esophagus.
Obesity and pregnancy can also lead to Hiatal Hernia. In both cases, there is a significant increase in body weight which can cause or put some pressure on the stomach. Added pressure on the abdomen helps in pushing back digestive fluids up the esophagus. This is why in some medical studies, there are more occurrences of hiatal hernia in women than in men, most especially if they are pregnant and for people who are overweight.
Hiatal Hernia Treatments
There are several methods of addressing this medical condition. At the onset of experiencing the signs that indicate any type of intestinal disease, it would be best to consult a medical professional. Medical doctors will be able to determine if the symptoms are really indicative of Hiatal hernia and to the extent of its severity. After a thorough medical evaluation, the appropriate diagnosis will be advised.
Initially, the doctor will use a specially designed x-ray with a barium swallow that will allow them to view the esophagus. The x-ray is performed by a radiologist who observes in real time the movement of the muscles of the upper digestive system as outlined by the swallowed barium. The doctor may also perform an endoscopy wherein he will insert a thin scope into the patient’s mouth. At the tip of the scope is a camera with a light that is used to explore the esophagus, stomach and duodenum or small intestine. A Gastroenterologist is the specific type of doctor that performs these kinds of procedures. The procedure may be invasive and costly, but the diagnosis of Hiatal hernia is more accurate and easier. It allows the doctor to fully comprehend the complications of the intestinal conditions. Under this procedure, tissue samples may be gathered or even a biopsy so that this can be further examined under a microscope.
Once the severity of the disease has been determined, the next step will be the best approach on how to treat the Hiatal Hernia.
In mild cases of acid reflux these can be addressed by some lifestyle changes. A reduction in food intake and incorporating some healthy exercises into the daily regimen can do wonders in eliminating incidences of acid reflux. Eat a healthy diet and eliminate processed food from your meals.Avoid the intake of spicy, oily, greasy food, citrus fruits or any substance that may irritate the stomach lining.
Upon waking up, drink a glass of water at room-temperature mixed with a tablespoon of pure apple cider vinegar. This will alleviate your symptoms and helps in the digestion of your food. It helps digest your food better thereby reducing the production of stomach acid.
After drinking water, you can do a simple exercise. Raise your body on your tiptoes then slowly drop down until you squat with your torso straight or upright. This exercise helps by putting your stomach back in its proper place.
For more severe cases, the will be medications prescribed by the doctor. PPI or protein –pump inhibitors are used to minimize and regulate acid production in the stomach. Though very effective in the short term, it is not recommended for long term use. There are several side effects and dependency on this drug is being avoided. If the disease cannot be resolved thru medication, then it may require a medical procedure or some kind of therapeutic treatment. A Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that is performed in order to put the stomach back into its place. Therapy can also be prescribed because there are some physical routines that can help in putting the internal organs in the right places or alleviate the patient’s condition.
Jaye Millet has been serving as fitness assistance and have great experience in treating hiatal hernia. She offer several options you can choose from in the treatment for Hiatal hernia depending on the gravity of your condition. It is best to have a full diagnosis and discuss with your doctor the best and most prudent option you can take.