Hiatal hernia

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia is when the stomach bulges up into the chest via an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the two areas. There are two types of hiatal hernia; sliding and paraoesophageal. 

What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

The symptoms of a hiatal hernia include:

  • Heartburn, often after eating (GERD)
  • Chest pain
  • Bloating
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Upset stomach
  • Shortness of breath

What causes a hiatal hernia?

It is not known what causes a hiatal hernia but it is more common in those over the age of 50 and in pregnant women.

What home remedies can help?

Some lifestyle changes can help with a hiatal hernia, such as changing your eating habits to smaller meals, more often. It is important to avoid acidic foods and limit fatty foods and caffeine.

Other helpful lifestyle changes including giving up smoking, regularly exercising and opting not to wear tight clothing or belts by choosing loose-fitting clothes. Your local pharmacist can give you over-the-counter medication to help with symptoms of GERD.

What is the surgical treatment of a hiatal hernia?

Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery involves small cuts being made into the tummy whilst you are asleep under general anaesthetic. 

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