A medical condition, in which, upper part of the stomach protrudes into thorax through the diaphragm, is termed as hiatal hernia. The different causes, symptoms, and treatment options, for relieving the associated pain, are discussed in short in the following HealthHearty article.
In hiatal hernia, a weakness or tear/cut that is present in the diaphragm lets the herniation to pierce the thorax. Opening in the diaphragm, which allows the esophagus to pass through is controlled by a valve. An acid reflux occurs when the stomach is rolled up.
There could be many different causes of hiatal hernia. Hard or frequent coughing is one of the reasons. Bending over or heavy lifting can also be the reason behind the condition. Obesity might also be one of the major causes. The extra weight exerts pressure on the abdomen in this case. Some of the other causes are, drug abuse, smoking, diaphragm weakness and stress, etc.
Symptoms of Pain Due to Hiatal Hernia
A pain, which is similar to heartburn, occurs in upper part of the stomach or in the chest. The experience of acid reflux and pain in the form of heartburn is the result of hernia. The pain could be severe at times, and one may feel that it is a heart attack. While suffering from hernia, pain in the back is one of the serious symptoms experienced by patients. The swelling of esophagus is the cause of back pain in such cases. The esophagus swells due to the rise in acids, and thereby it touches the spine.
Consulting a doctor, is the first thing to do in case of the pain caused by hiatal hernia.
- The doctor would prescribe a suitable medication to provide relief from the pain and discomfort. One should not neglect even minor pains, and go for treatment immediately.
- Medications such as H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors can be used in the reduction of acid secretion.
- It is necessary to check whether a person is suffering from acid reflux disease (GERD), whose symptoms are similar to that of hernia. This problem can occur separately or along with hiatal hernia.
- One of the methods to reduce the pain is to eat at least four hours before bedtime. This measure not only helps hernia patients, but also helps other people in keeping the overall health in a sound condition.
- Chewing the food properly is of utmost importance. The problem can aggravate, if the food is chewed less than necessary.
- Intake of spicy food makes the condition even worse. Therefore, one should avoid eating acidic and spicy foods.
- To minimize the problem of pain after eating, one should learn to manage the proportion of foods that he eats. Overeating intensifies the pain and thus, aggravates the problem.
- A surgery is recommended in severe cases; if it is not done in a timely manner, esophagus may get injured due to chronic reflux. In worst cases, a person might suffer from esophageal cancer.
- Nissen fundoplication is the surgical procedure used in treating hiatal hernia. In this process, the upper part of stomach (gastric fundus) is wrapped around the esophagus (around its inferior part). The gastric fundus when wrapped around the esophagus, the reflux of gastric acid and herniation of stomach through the hiatal is prevented.
The pain associated with hiatal hernia can be minimized by undertaking appropriate measures. The treatment mentioned in the paragraphs above, will help in attaining the desired result.