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Hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernia: Introduction

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach pushes up abnormally through an opening in the diaphragm, a sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. Hiatal hernia is also called a hiatus hernia.

Most people do not have any symptoms of a hiatal hernia and are unaware of the condition. When there are symptoms of hiatal hernia, they are generally related to acid reflux. This is because some people with hiatal hernia may have a condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux), which can aggravate symptoms of hiatal hernia.

Typical symptoms of hiatal hernia include a burning sensation in the upper abdomen and chest, heartburn, and indigestion. Serious complications of hiatal hernia can be serious and include strangulated hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernia accompanied by GERD can also lead to complications, such as the development of esophageal ulcers, scarring of the esophagus, Barrett's esophagus, and increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of hiatal hernia.

There are two types of hiatal hernia. They include the sliding hernia, and paraesophageal hernia. A sliding hernia occurs when the area where the esophagus meets the stomach, which slides up into the chest through the hole in the diaphragm. This is the most common type of hiatal hernia.

A paraesophageal hernia occurs when part of the stomach slides into the chest. This type of hiatal hernia is more prone to complications, such as strangulated hiatal hernia.

Hiatal hernia is most common in people who smoke, are overweight or obese, and/or are over the age of 50 years.

Diagnosing hiatal hernia and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination.

Diagnostic testing generally includes a barium X-Ray, which can help illuminate abnormalities of the esophagus and stomach found in hiatal hernia.

Testing may also include an endoscopy procedure called an espohagoscopy. In this procedure, a flexible lighted instrument is inserted through the mouth and throat into the esophagus and stomach. This instrument, called an endoscope, takes pictures of the esophagus and stomach and/or sends images to a computer monitor.

If it is suspected that a person with hiatal hernia may also have GERD, an esophageal manometry may be performed. This test measures the pressure and contractions of the muscles of the esophagus. This can determine if the esophageal muscles around the entrance to the stomach are abnormally relaxed, which can allow stomach contents to back up into the esophagus and produce symptoms, such as burning. Other tests may include tests that measure the amount of stomach acid that is produced.

A diagnosis of hiatal hernia and its cause may be delayed or missed because symptoms of hiatal hernia may similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of hiatal hernia.

Treatment of hiatal hernia may not be necessary if there are no symptoms or complications. For hiatal hernia with symptoms or complications, treatment may include weight loss, lifestyle and dietary changes, not smoking. Medications may also be prescribed. For severe cases of hiatal hernia with complications, hospitalization and surgery may be necessary. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of hiatal hernia. ...more »

Hiatal hernia: When an organ pokes out past the muscle wall that is supposed to hold the organ in place, you have a hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the ... more about Hiatal hernia.

Hiatal hernia: Hernia of the stomach through the diaphragm muscle. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Hiatal hernia is available below.

Hiatal hernia: Symptoms

Symptoms of hiatal hernia can vary in nature and severity between individuals. Most people with hiatal hernia have no symptoms or complications. When symptoms do occur, they can range in severity from mild to severe.

When hiatal hernia is accompanied by GERD, the acidic stomach contents flow from the stomach up the esophagus toward the mouth. This results in typical symptoms that include ...more symptoms »

Hiatal hernia: Treatments

Treatment plans for hiatal hernia are individualized depending on the severity of symptoms, specific type of hiatal hernia, the presence of coexisting diseases, such s GERD, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that minimizes the discomfort of heartburn and indigestion, and ...more treatments »

Hiatal hernia: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of hiatal hernia and its underlying cause may be delayed or missed because many people with hiatal hernia do not have symptoms. In addition, in some cases the symptoms of hiatal hernia may not be severe enough or last long enough for a person to seek medical care.

Symptoms of hiatal hernia can also be similar to symptoms of a wide variety of other diseases and conditions. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Hiatal hernia

Treatments for Hiatal hernia

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Hiatal hernia?

Hiatal hernia: Related Patient Stories

Hiatal hernia: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Hiatal hernia.

Alternative Treatments for Hiatal hernia

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Hiatal hernia may include:

  • Calcarea carbonica homeopathic remedy
  • Lachesis homeopathic remedy
  • Belladonna homeopathic remedy
  • more treatments »

Types of Hiatal hernia

Diagnostic Tests for Hiatal hernia

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Hiatal hernia: Complications

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Causes of Hiatal hernia

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Disease Topics Related To Hiatal hernia

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Hiatal hernia:

Hiatal hernia: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Hiatal hernia

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is over-diagnosed, more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance. The digestive system contains a variety of "good" more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more likely to more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better more »

Hiatal hernia: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Hiatal hernia

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Hiatal hernia:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Hiatal hernia, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Hiatal hernia: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Hiatal hernia

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Hiatal hernia

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Hiatal hernia: Animations

Prognosis for Hiatal hernia

Prognosis for Hiatal hernia: You should not worry about having a hiatal hernia. Many people over the age of 50 have such a hernia, and it does not need treatment unless heartburn or GERD is present and causes significant discomfort, or unless the hernia is in danger of becoming twisted and cutting off the stomach's blood supply. (Source: excerpt from Hiatal Hernia: NIDDK)

Research about Hiatal hernia

Visit our research pages for current research about Hiatal hernia treatments.

Clinical Trials for Hiatal hernia

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Hiatal hernia include:

Statistics for Hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernia: Broader Related Topics

Hiatal hernia Message Boards

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Article Excerpts about Hiatal hernia

When an organ pokes out past the muscle wall that is supposed to hold the organ in place, you have a hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest. This opening is called the esophageal hiatus.

After you swallow food, it travels between your mouth and stomach through a muscular tube called the esophagus. The esophagus passes through the hiatus to enter the abdominal cavity. At the bottom of the esophagus is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter, which acts as a valve. The hiatus itself acts like a second valve. Normally the hiatus and the lower esophageal sphincter line up with each other to keep stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus (a condition called reflux). But the hiatus can stretch because of muscle weakness or too much abdominal pressure. When this occurs, the stomach can slip through the hiatus, causing a hiatal hernia. (Source: excerpt from Hiatal Hernia: NIDDK)

Definitions of Hiatal hernia:

STOMACH herniation located at or near the diaphragmatic opening for the ESOPHAGUS, esophageal hiatus. When the ESOPHAGOGASTRIC JUNCTION is above the DIAPHRAGM, it is called a SLIDING HIATAL HERNIA. When the ESOPHAGOGASTRIC JUNCTION is below the DIAPHRAGM, it is called a PARAESOPHAGEAL HIATAL HERNIA. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Hernia resulting from the protrusion of part of the stomach through the diaphragm - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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