Question: My friend has been diagnosed with a hiatus hernia. She burps all day long but not at night. She has tried antacids but nothing works can you suggest something for her?
Answer: Hiatus hernia is a condition which results when the upper portion of the stomach protrudes into the chest through the esophageal opening in the diaphragm.
Your stomach lies just below the diaphragm. Esophagus or the food pipe is above the diaphragm and it is technically considered as a part of the chest cavity. The diaphragm has the hole for the esophagus to pass through it and join the upper part of the stomach. This hole is known as esophageal hiatus. In hiatus hernia due to some reason, the hiatus becomes weak and allows the upper portion of the stomach to slide into the chest and presses the wall of the esophagus giving rise to symptoms of hiatus hernia.
Hiatus hernia is a disorder, in which there occurs a herniation or displacement of a section of the stomach, through an aperture in the diaphragm, through which the esophagus normally passes.
Hiatus Hernia Symptoms
Symptoms of hiatal hernia are – Heart burn, fullness / bloating of the abdomen, occasional chest pain, gas formation, and sporadic discomfort while swallowing.
The primary cause of hiatal hernia the disorder is poor muscle tone. The condition almost always gets aggravated by a defective diet.
- Discomfort and pain below the breast bone near the lower part of the chest wall.
- Heart burn when bending down or while lying in the bed. A person finds it difficult to lie down in bed, because no sooner he lies down he starts to have discomfort and heartburn when he suffers from hiatus hernia.
- Difficulty in swallowing. As the compression is in the lower part of the esophagus, there is a feeling of obstruction in the lower chest wall, which gives a feeling as if the food has stuck in the lower part of the esophagus.
- Chronic burping.
- Hiatus hernia can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter and cause reflux esophagitis.
In normal circumstances hiatus hernia rarely causes any symptoms, the pain and discomfort is due to reflux of the gastric content such as acid, bile and the swallowed food. There are many causes for reflux, but hiatus hernia is the most important cause for reflux.
Causes and Diet Tips
Hiatus hernia is common after the age of 50 yrs, though the exact cause of hiatus hernia is not known. Certain factors can contribute to weaken the diaphragm and the connective tissue that is attached around the esophageal hiatus. Smoking, obesity, lack of rest, increase age is some of the known causes for hiatus hernia. Stress is also one of the reasons that contribute for hiatus hernia.
- Eat small meals, frequently instead of three large meals.
- Eat two hours before you go to bed.
- Do not lie down soon after eating dinner.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes.
- Avoid alcohol and aerated colas.
- Avoid coffee and tea as this can trigger heart burn.
- Do not bend after eating food.
- Diet should consist of vegetables, fruits, cereals, sprouted beans. Vegetables should be cooked light. Drink fruit juices, and vegetables juices. Carrot juice is beneficial as soothes the stomach due to alkalinity.
- Avoid eating processed food, sugar, pickles, white bread, and condiments as they can increase the acid in the stomach.
Hiatus Hernia Remedies And Treatment
The goal of the treatment is to reduce the symptoms and discomfort and avoid any further complication.
- To treat hiatal hernia naturally, gently massage the epigastric region. It is the area just below the end of the breast bone. Place both your index finger on the area and move them in downward direction towards the umbilicus. You may need not go that far, just two inches down is enough. Repe3at this massage several times while you are lying down in the bed and when you are fully relaxed.
- Tea made from calendula is beneficial as it reduces the inflammation caused due to acid. You can drink it twice to reduce the symptom of heartburn.
- Slippery elm is another herb which is useful in relieving heartburn triggered due to hiatus hernia. The tea is not tasty but it acts like a glue and covers the surface of the stomach and the esophagus and protects it from excess of acid secretion.
- Use of a wedge pillow is a natural way to treat hiatus hernia. It elevates the head, upper part of the body and the shoulders. It helps you to sleep in this position and give relieve symptoms of hiatus hernia.
- Never drink water along with the meal.
- Never lie down immediately after consuming the meal. Sit up for at least
Swallowing difficulty, heartburn and chest pain are hiatal hernia symptoms that mimic other chest ailments. Hiatal hernia diet tips include small meals frequently, avoid smoking, do not bend after eating food. Wedge pillow, gentle finger massage and tea prepared from slippery elm are Hiatus hernia natural treatment.