Did you know you can live with a small hiatal hernia and never know it's there?
Here's what the Mayo Clinic says about hiatal hernias:
"A hernia occurs when one part of the body protrudes through a gap or open
ing into another part. A hiatal hernia forms at the opening in your diaphragm where your food pipe (esophagus) joins your stomach. Part of the stomach pushes through this opening causing a hiatal hernia.
"Most small hiatal hernias don't cause problems, and you may never know you have a hiatal hernia unless your doctor discovers it when checking for another condition. But a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to back up into your esophagus, leading to heartburn and chest pain. Self-care measures or medications can usually relieve these symptoms, although very large hiatal hernias sometimes need surgical repair."
Symptoms of a hiatal hernia can include heartburn, burping, chest pain and nausea, and are worse when you put extra pressure on the stomach area, for instance by wearing a tight waistband, leaning forward, lifting heavy objects or being pregnant.
You might have a higher risk of hiatal hernia if you're over 50, if you're obese, or if you smoke.
When to see a doctor:
If you have heartburn symptoms that seem severe, happen often, or are accompanied by chest pain, coughing, wheezing, a sore throat or difficulty swallowing, it's good to have it checked out.
Here's the Mayo Clinic page on hiatal hernias:
And here's a recent story about GRD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, which has some symptoms in common and can be affected by a hiatal hernia:
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.