When the esophageal opening, also called diaphragmatic hiatus, becomes weaker, the upper part of the stomach is allowed to push through and reach the chest cavity. This type of condition is called hiatus hernia and one can live with it for a long time if the diet and life-style is controlled and no possible complications like the gastroesophageal reflux disease occur.
Gastroesophageal reflux appears when the lower esophageal sphincter is weakened by the action of the hiatus hernia. In normal conditions, the diaphragmatic hiatus and the lower sphincter of the esophagus work together to maintain the physiological position of the stomach inside the abdomen. The low esophageal sphincter is meant to connect the stomach with the esophagus and in case of a hiatus hernia, a gastric reflux can occur.
Hiatus hernia causes gastric acid and other stomach contents to remain above the esophageal opening and easily reflux into the esophagus causing heartburn.
Heartburn is the main symptom of a hiatus hernia as about 50% of the patients diagnosed show no other signs of the condition. Therefore, knowing how to control the symptoms of a gastric reflux through the diet might be very useful in keeping the disease under control.
The diaphragmatic opening and its membranes is believed to act as an additional sphincter, controlling together with the lower esophageal sphincter the position of the stomach. In case of hiatus hernia, acid and gastric contents are retained above the hiatus and can easily get back into the esophagus causing the principal symptom of the condition, heartburns.
Patients suffering from hiatus hernia must necessarily change their eating habits and replace large meals with more frequent but smaller content meals. A condition of avoiding heartburn during sleep is to have the last meal at least two hours before lying down. Bending over right is strictly forbidden after eating as it can easily provoke a stomach reflux. Persons with hiatus hernia must learn to stay up and move around about one hour after meal in order to stimulate nutrients to get into the stomach and be more rapidly digested.
All persons with hiatus hernia have observed in time the bad influence of some foods that act as triggers of heartburn; such food might be alcohol, vinegar, fruits and others. Smoking is also one of the most dangerous actions for a hiatus hernia patient. A list should be available to you so you can see what you should eat, what you should avoid and what you must moderately consume. The best advice is the one coming from your own body as you may be sensible to products that other patients with the same condition. The reverse situation is also possible and you might be able to eat some foods without sharing the symptoms with other patients. A planning diary with foods you eat and symptoms you experience could be helpful to direct you to the appropriate diet.
For more resources about hernia please visit these pages http://www.hernia-guide.com/Hiatal-Hernia.htm or http://www.hernia-guide.com/Umbilical-Hernia.htm