What You Need to Know About Hiatal Hernias

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A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm, and up into the chest. This opening is called an esophageal hiatus or diaphragmatic hiatus.

Studies have shown that the opening in the diaphragm, where the esophagus connects with the stomach, acts as an additional sphincter around the lower part of the esophagus. Normally, the hiatus and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) rely on each other to keep stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus.

It is believed that a hiatal hernia can weaken the LES, and make it easier for stomach acid to back up into the esophagus.

  • Hiatal Hernias: What is a hiatal hernia? What are the symptoms? How is it treated? Learn about these and more in the following article
  • Hiatal Hernia Diet Tips: About 50% of all people with hiatal hernias do not have any symptoms. For the other approximate 50% of individuals with hiatal hernias who do have symptoms, heartburn is the most common symptom. Knowing how to control the heartburn through diet is important.
  • Symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia: 50 percent of hiatal hernia patients don't experience any symptoms. For the other 50 percent of patients, the following symptoms may occur.
  • What tests are used to diagnose hiatal hernias?: There are a few procedures that are used to diagnose the presence of a hiatal hernia.
  • Treating Hiatal Hernias: For approximately 50% of individuals with a hiatal hernia, symptoms are not present. For those who do experience symptoms, it is usually caused by heartburn or acid reflux. Many individuals with a hiatal hernia also have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. For them, their doctors may prescribe a treatment plan that is similar to the treatment for GERD.
  • What condition is most commonly associated with a hiatal hernia?: Other digestive disorders can occur along with a hiatal hernia. Learn which is the disorder that occurs in the majority of hiatal hernia patients.
  • How To Live With a Hiatal Hernia: A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm, and up into the chest. This opening is called the esophageal hiatus or diaphragmatic hiatus. If you've been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, you'll need to know how to live with it.
  • Paraesophageal Hiatal Hernia: When part of the stomach is squeezed up into the chest beside the esophagus, and stays there, it is called a paraesophageal hiatal hernia.

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