Causes & Treatment for Hiatal Hernias
What is a hernia?
Whenever an internal body part is pushed into a portion of the body where it does not naturally belong, it is known as a hernia or a herniation. A typical example of a hernia is a herniated disc, which occurs when a spinal disc material pushes outside of the spinal column.
A different kind of hernia called a hiatal hernia occurs when your stomach is pushed into the chest cavity through a small opening in your diaphragm. This small opening, called the hiatus, is made up of a small muscular wall found between the chest and abdomen.
What kinds of hiatal hernias are there?
There are two types of hiatal hernias that can occur. They are known as the sliding hiatal hernia (pictured below) and the paraesophageal hiatal hernia.
When a sliding hiatal hernia occurs, your stomach slides up and into the esophagus and eventually into the chest cavity. This is the more common type of hernia seen in patients.
The second kind of hernia is known as a paraesophageal hernia. Paraesophageal means to the side of the esophagus. This kind of hernia is less common but more concerning because it can cause stomach strangulation, which cuts off its blood supply.
What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?
Sometimes, a hernia has no symptoms at all. However, often, one or more of the following hiatal hernia symptoms are experienced:
- GERD, or acid reflux disease
- Abdominal discomfort
What causes a hiatal hernia?
Typically, the cause of a hiatal hernia is unknown. However, some of the following may eventually contribute to the development of a hiatal hernia:
- Excessive coughing
- Straining during bowel movements
- Weakness in that portion of the body
- Increased pressure on the abdomen
- Injury to the area
- Being overweight/excessive weight gain
How is a hiatal hernia diagnosed?
Diagnosing a hiatal hernia can be done at Gotham Medical Associates using one of the following studies in addition to a physical exam and analysis of your medical history:
- X-rays with visualization of the esophagus (barium swallow)
- Upper endoscopy
How are hiatal hernias treated?
At Gotham Medical Associates, we can diagnose and treat your hiatal hernia with a treatment plan that is personalized to your individual needs. Visit our office or schedule an appointment with us using the form on this page to learn more about your treatment options from one of our specialists. We are committed to providing you the most advanced and latest treatment options to repair your hernia and prevent future repeat herniations.