Hiatal hernias are of two types, sliding and paraesophageal, with the first being more common and the second, more dangerous. About 15% of Americans suffer from hernias.
Sliding vs. Paraesophageal
Sliding hernias, the more common type, occurs when the intersection of the esophagus and the stomach slide into the chest cavity through the hiatus.
Paraesophageal hernias occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus and sits next to the esophagus. It is more likely that a paraesophageal hernia will be at risk of strangulation than a sliding hiatal – hernia.
Likely To Develop A Hiatal Hernia
Individuals at risk are more often women, those who are overweight and people over 5o years old. This is due to pregnancy factors, strain from excess weight, and tissue attrition respectively.
Recognizing a Hiatal Hernia
Hernias can be caused by injuries to the abdominal or chest area. Sometimes a patient develops a hernia due to a defect at birth which created a large hiatus. Other times long term, intestinal coughing, sneezing or training on the toilet can cause tissue damage and cause a hernia to form. Heavy lifting may be a cause as well.
Patients may have small hernias and never know. When they get larger, symptoms such as belching, tiring easily, difficulty swallowing and acid reflux may be experienced.
Hernias are diagnosed via endoscopy or an x-ray but, hiatal hernia treatment is not always necessary, especially when the patient feels no pain.
Managing Your Hiatal Hernia From Home
Many times ahernia can be treated from home with over the counter medications and special diet. To manage discomfort at home, medicines such as antacids, acid reducers and proton pump inhibitors can be taken. To manage symptoms from home, you can replace a few large meals with multiple smaller ones and avoid spicy or citrus foods. Also avoiding being over weight, smoking and alcohol will help to prevent heartburn and pressure to the hernia. Finally, some doctors recommend waiting 2 hours after meals to sleep and raising the head of the bed 6 inches.
When to Have Your Hiatal Hernia Treated
Treatment of hernias is usually done laparoscopically when there is risk of strangulation. Usually, the surgeon will relocate the stomach to its natural position or remove the herniated sac. Then, either reduce the size of the diaphragm opening or strengthen the ares where the stomach and the esophagus connect. Recovery generally takes about 2 to 3 weeks and recurrence is possible.
Pain is Bad
If you have been diagnosed with, but not grateful for, your hiatal – hernia, and you begin to experience pain, call your doctor.
At home remedies are always the best and first way hiatal / hernias should be treated, unless theirs is a risk of strangulation.
When at home methods fail, turn to your doctor for surgical hernia treatment.