Everything you need to know about hiatus hernia – Part 1
We have all heard about hernias. They are the reason why we are all mindful. When lifting weight and trying to do it with a proper technique and breathing pattern. Hernias are usually defined as a protrusion or bulge of abdominal contents through a natural defect in the abdominal wall. However, hiatus hernias do not have any visible signs and seem to defy all we know about these surgical problems.
So, leave what you think you know about hernias behind. In this article, we will discuss a very different type, called hiatus hernia.
What is a hiatus hernia?
We typically know hernias as protrusions you can see in your abdomen or near your groin. However, hiatus hernia is different. It is a sliding of the stomach into the thoracic cavity, and it is a bit more challenging to diagnose because it does not give out any visual cues. The most common complaint in these patients is acid reflux, which is usually associated with many other diseases.
Since there is usually no emergency problems associated with hiatus hernia, and its symptoms are common in so many pathologies, it usually remains undiagnosed for a long time. Also, we must note it can be quite difficult to differentiate hiatus hernia with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). In most cases, both diseases coexist and are treated at the same time.
Different from many other types of hernia, hiatal hernia does not have major signs and symptoms. It is usually asymptomatic, and in most cases, patients are diagnosed incidentally. For instance, a patient performing an X-ray exam or a CT scan gets a diagnosis of hiatus hernia by chance, and that is how the doctor understands why this patient has so many acid reflux problems.
Hiatus hernia causes
The causes of hiatal hernia are the only thing that is similar between this type of hernia and the rest. The diaphragm is a large muscle that separates the thoracic and abdominal cavity. It has an opening through which the esophagus drives food into the stomach in the abdominal cavity.
This opening in the diaphragm has a membrane that prevents abdominal contents from going up into the thoracic cavity. In hiatal hernia, this membrane is weakened and the stomach starts sliding upwards, ending up halfway into the thorax. In some cases, it stays fixed in the same position, but sometimes it goes back and forth into the abdominal cavity and the thoracic cavity.
Similar to every other type of hernia, the risk is increased if you have an increase of pressure in the abdomen. It may be more common in people with constipation, and those who are continuously vomiting for a medical or psychiatric disorder.
But, how is hiatal hernia diagnosed? Is there any way to improve your symptoms? In part 2 of this article, you will find out more useful information about this ailment, and if you’ve been recently diagnosed with hiatal hernia, you’ll be glad to know there is something you can do to feel better.