A hiatal hernia can be an exhausting problem for people causing heartburn and return bouts of acid reflux. Not only is it irritating and uncomfortable, it can cause a person to stop eating properly and have sleepless nights due to the heartburn. If you are not sure what a hiatal hernia is, it is a protrusion of your stomach through the chest wall in a weakness that occurs in the opening of the diaphragm called the hiatus. The symptoms can be controlled by taking over-the -counter medications, but when the symptoms become severe the best treatment may be hiatal hernia surgery.
Many people have tried taking medications to control their acid reflux and heartburn symptoms only to find out these medications are not helping. If you feel you may have a hernia and need hiatal hernia surgery, your best bet is to talk to you doctor.
What causes the hiatal hernia?
There are a couple of important factors that can lead to this condition and one of the most prevalent is being overweight. The excess weight around the waist can cause your diaphragm to be pushed upward therefore causing the hiatus opening to become pressured and start to open more than normal. If you really want to rid yourself of the problem the best thing to do is to control your weight.
Another risk factor is smoking; smoking causes the muscles to become less effective and therefore makes it easier for the stomach to protrude through the opening.
One more risk factor is eating foods that can cause the reflux to be more frequent. Cutting down on the amount of acidic food you eat can reduce the symptoms of the heartburn but will not cure the hernia; sometimes the only option is hiatal hernia surgery.
How is the surgery performed?
The procedure is not that difficult and consists of returning the stomach to its place while adding sutures around the hiatus opening to make it less likely of the hernia recurring. This procedure can be done on an inpatient basis as it does require general anesthesia.
Will I have to have surgery?
Many times the surgery can be avoided if you follow a diet and exercise program that helps you reduce the risks. Quitting smoking and taking better care of your body is the way to overcome the problem and live hernia free.
The object of the lifestyle change is to take the pressure off of the opening so the muscles have time to recuperate and heal. It can be done but you need to remain vigil.
Finally, if you are having symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux, it is best to consult with your doctor so the proper tests may be run. Your doctor will be able to discuss all of your options and will probably suggest the lifestyle changes that will allow your hiatus to heal. Never take on a diet plan or exercise routine without talking to your doctor first. Hiatal hernia surgery can be avoided if you follow the simple tips suggested.