A “hernia” generally refers to a condition in which an internal organ has slipped out of place, pushing through the surrounding tissue or muscles that normally hold it in position. A hiatal hernia is considered a hernia of the diaphragm, whereby the top portion of the stomach pushes up through an opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus is located — an area known as the hiatus.
Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia
A hiatal hernia typically causes symptoms, though not always. While some people remain symptom-free for a period of time, a hiatal hernia can cause symptoms that are usually associated with heartburn or acid reflux, such as:
- Acid reflux
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unexplained tiredness
Risk Factors and Causes of Hiatal Hernia
People who are over 50 or are significantly overweight have an increased risk of hiatal hernia. While some people may get a hiatal hernia as a result of having a large hiatus, this type of hernia can also be caused by pressure or trauma to the chest or stomach. Common causes of hiatal hernia include:
- Excessive or recurrent vomiting
- Recurrent coughing
- Chronic straining
Hiatal Hernia Treatment
Mild symptoms of a hiatal hernia can sometimes be treated with antacids or other medications for acid reflux. However, many acid reflux medications, such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) cause negative long-term effects, so many people prefer not to take them.
If your acid reflux is diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a hiatal hernia repair might be recommended. If left untreated, a hiatal hernia that develops into GERD can lead to respiratory problems resulting from gastric fluids that flow through the hiatus into the lungs, causing chronic inflammation. Unresolved GERD can also lead to chronic inflammation of the esophagus, raising your risk of esophageal cancer. Hernia repair surgery might also be recommended if your hiatus starts narrowing.
Deena Hill — Hiatal Hernia Testimonial
Is hiatal hernia surgery right for you?
If you and your doctor decide that hiatal hernia surgery is your best treatment option, you may undergo a laparoscopic or robotic-assisted hernia repair. These are minimally invasive surgical procedures with advanced surgical equipment that allows a surgeon to make much smaller incisions than those used in traditional open surgery.
For a robotic-assisted hernia repair, the surgeon typically makes three tiny incisions above your navel. A scope is used to give the surgeon high-definition visibility during the procedure. The procedure involves moving the stomach and lower esophagus back into their proper positions, and tightening the hiatus. Stitches are placed in select areas of the stomach to keep the hernia from recurring.
Contact miVIP today at (844) 237-5067 to learn more about minimally invasive hernia treatment. We would be happy to schedule a consultation to discuss how to resolve your hiatal hernia and related symptoms.
Read additional information and articles in miVIP’s medical library, under Conditions & Diseases.