Are you suffering from Hiatal Hernia in Eagan?

Hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach bulges up above the diaphragm into the chest cavity. Normally, the esophagus is positioned in the chest and the stomach is in the abdomen. A small opening (hiatus) in the diaphragm allows the esophagus to pass through to the stomach. Weakness of the diaphragm muscles adjacent to the hiatus allows the stomach to protrude through the hiatus into the chest. A hiatal hernia may weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the important barrier muscle between the esophagus and stomach, which prevents food and stomach acids from backing up into the esophagus. A weak LES results in a backward flow of stomach contents (acid reflux), causing irritation and inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


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Types of hiatal hernias: Sliding. During periods of increased abdominal pressure, a portion of the stomach slides up above the diaphragm. When the pressure decreases, the stomach returns to its normal position. Fixed (paraesophageal). At least a portion of the stomach remains in the chest cavity at all times. This form causes more severe symptoms than the sliding type. The incidence of hiatal hernia increases with age. Most people experiencing this condition are over age 50 and obese. Causes Increased pressure within the abdomen is the main risk factor for this condition. The following factors contribute to development of a hiatal hernia: Obesity Coughing Straining with bowel movements Heavy lifting Vomiting Traumatic injury to the diaphragm Smoking. Symptoms Most individuals with small hiatal hernias do not experience any symptoms at all. However, large hiatal hernias cause a variety of symptoms related to gastroesophageal reflux. These include: Chest pain (heartburn) Upper abdominal pain Coughing Belching Difficulty swallowing. Severe acid reflux can lead to the following complications: Esophageal inflammation (esophagitis) Narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture) Precancerous changes in the lining of the esophagus and an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. Diagnosis Chest pain (heartburn), a common symptom of hiatal hernia and GERD, is difficult to distinguish from the symptoms of heart disease. Therefore, initial tests are often directed at ruling out heart problems.


Hiatal Hernia Help in Eagan

Treatment Lifestyle and activity modifications include the following: Lose weight Quit smoking Avoid heavy lifting Avoid bending over Improve posture Elevate the head of the bed 4 to 6 inches Exercise. Recommended dietary changes include: Eat small meals more frequently instead of large meals Avoid eating within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime Avoid foods that worsen GERD symptoms, such as caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruit, tomato sauce, fried or fatty foods, alcohol, and peppermint.

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