Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernia, also known as hiatus hernia, is a medical condition where a part of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen and helps in breathing. 

There are two main types of hiatal hernias: sliding hiatal hernia and paraesophageal hiatal hernia. In a sliding hernia, the junction between the esophagus and stomach, known as the gastroesophageal junction, and a portion of the stomach slide up into the chest. This is the most common type of hiatal hernia. 

In a paraesophageal hernia, a portion of the stomach squeezes through the diaphragm and sits beside the esophagus. This type of hernia is less common but can cause more severe symptoms and complications.

Hiatal hernias can be caused by a weakening of the diaphragm muscle, which can occur due to factors such as age, obesity, pregnancy, or injury. Most hiatal hernias are asymptomatic and may be discovered incidentally during medical tests for other conditions. However, some people with hiatal hernias may experience symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, or acid reflux.

Treatment options for hiatal hernias depend on the severity of symptoms. Mild cases can often be managed with lifestyle modifications such as avoiding large meals, maintaining a healthy weight, and elevating the head of the bed during sleep. Medications to reduce acid production or neutralize stomach acid may also be prescribed. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair the hernia and prevent complications.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment if you suspect you have a hiatal hernia or are experiencing related symptoms.