(Last Updated on : 08/07/2017)
Hiatus Hernia is a common stomach disorder
which occurs when the upper part of ones stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through a weakness in the hiatus (opening) of the diaphragm. The disease is also known as Hiatal Hernia and here, the oesophagus passes from the chest to the abdominal cavity through the opening in the diaphragm. The disease is quite common among the middle aged people and almost half the people aged above 60 years suffer from it. The disease is quite commonly found among the overweight people. However in most of the cases, Hiatus Hernia does not cause any serious problems to the patients.
Types of Hiatus Hernia
There are mainly three types of Hiatus Hernia. The most common type of Hiatus Hernia is the Sliding Hiatus Hernia. The herniated portion of the stomach also slides back and forth into and out of the chest, in this type of hiatus hernia. Another type of hernia is the Rolling Hiatus Hernia or the Fixed Hiatus Hernia. In this case, a part of the stomach herniates through the oesophageal hiatus and lies beside the oesophagus. It does not move and the upper part of the stomach is caught up in the chest. The third type of Hiatus Hernia, known as Complicated or Serious Hiatus Hernia. This is actually a combination of the first and second types of hiatus hernia. In this case, the entire stomach moves up in the chest. However, this type of hernia is quite rare.
Causes of Hiatus Hernia
Hiatus Hernia may occur due to various causes. Anything that increases the pressure inside the abdomen can increase the size of the hernia and cause hiatus hernia. The primary cause of Hiatus Hernia is a faulty dietary routine, where a person consumes large amount of white flour and refined sugar. Consumption of food having preservatives and flavourings may eventually make one a Hiatus Hernia patient. The other causes of Hiatus Hernia include a few drinks like tea
, alcohol, etc. These drinks can affect the mucous lining of the stomach and irritate the digestive tract and cause Hiatus Hernia. A few other factors like cough
ing, vomiting, heredity, sedentary occupations, exercises like weightlifting, overweight, straining at stool, smoking, shallow breathing, mental and emotional tensions, etc. are also considered the probable causes of Hiatus Hernia. Pregnancy can be another cause of Hiatus Hernia, as well.
Symptoms of Hiatus Hernia
However, in most of the cases, a Hiatus Hernia does not show any symptoms. There are certain specific symptoms that can help in detecting the disease of Hiatus Hernia. Generally, it is characterised by pain in certain areas including the area behind the breastbone, left chest, base of the throat, right lower ribs, behind the right shoulder blade, etc. Apart from pain, there are a few other symptoms of Hiatus Hernia that include;
Heartburn after a meal
A feel of bloating
Discomfort on swallowing
Diagnosis of Hiatus Hernia
The upper GI barium meal x-ray test is conducted for diagnosing Hiatus Hernia correctly. Another test for diagnosis of Hiatus Hernia is Gastroscopy or upper-intestinal endoscopy, where the oesophagus and stomach are examined using a flexible scope, after lightly sedating the patient.
Treatment of Hiatus Hernia
The treatment of Hiatus Hernia is done following several alternative medicinal methods, besides the conventional treatment methods. In most of the cases, Hiatus Hernia does not need any treatment. Treatment is required only when symptoms like persistent heartburn or difficulty in swallowing, acid inflammation and ulceration of the lower oesophagus. Medications that neutralise stomach acidity, decrease acid production, or strengthen the lower oesophageal sphincter are generally prescribed. The most commonly used alternative medicinal methods for treating Hiatus Hernia include Ayurveda
, Nature care
, Magnetic therapy
, Herbal treatment, Acupressure, Aromatherapy
, etc. Apart from these, various diet
ary restrictions, nutrition and supplements and Yoga Asanas
are advised for treatment of Hiatus Hernia.