Hiatal Hernia Symptoms
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
Hiatal hernia is a relatively common condition in which the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. There are many cases of hiatal hernia in America annually, and it happens to a majority of senior citizens.
Dr. William Barnes specializes in the diagnosis and treatment for hiatal hernia’s at Tri-Rivers Healthcare. With offices in Salem and Marion, KY, Dr. Barnes sees patients from all over Western Kentucky. If you have symptoms of a hiatal hernia, call us to schedule your appointment today!
What Causes a Hiatal Hernia?
Generally, the membrane that connects the chest the diaphragm keeps the stomach in place. However, due to:
- Old Age
- Frequent Vomiting
the membrane can degenerate, which may force a segment of the stomach into the chest cavity, following the esophagus. We find that mostly middle-aged people to the elderly are the ones who suffer from Hiatal Hernias the most frequently. However, it is not rare that a younger individual will need treatment for a Hiatal Hernia.
How do I know if I have a Hiatal Hernia?
Most people won’t know if they have a hiatal hernia or not. It doesn’t cause symptoms by itself. However, there are things that someone who may have a hiatal hernia may notice:
- Chest Pain
- Acid Reflux
- Heartburn that varies with bodily position/stance
- Foreign feeling of air pressure
Hiatal Hernia can be tested in a medical environment with the following tests:
- Barium Swallow X-Ray
- pH Test for stomach acids in esophagus
However, a doctor will generally not test for Hiatal Hernia if there are no symptoms present. Treatment is often based on the symptoms experienced.
Treating the Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia
Depending on the intensity of the symptoms experienced, there are different solutions for treating a Hiatal Hernia:
- Weight Management
- If your weight is causing hiatal herniation, the healthiest way to remove the damage is to lose the weight. Depending on the outcome of weight loss, other procedures may be necessary.
- Antacids / Acid Suppressants
- Taking either prescription or over-the-counter antacids or acid suppressants can reduce the effects of acid in the stomach, or reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, minimizing any “spilling” of acids outside of the stomach.
- If all else has failed, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery can fix a hiatal hernia (and many other herniations in the body).