Sliding Hiatal Hernia Review

Sliding Hiatal Hernia

A hernia refers to any situation in which a part of the body pushes or is pushed into an area where it should not be. In the case of the stomach, a sliding hiatal hernia is the most common type of this phenomenon. So what is a hiatal hernia? The condition refers to the stomach pushing up through an opening in the diaphragm known as the hiatus. It is not always serious, however it can lead to some symptoms that require treatment and further complications can develop in some situations.

Although the sliding hiatal hernia is the most common type of the condition, there are other types and stages that can be more serious. The easiest way to understand different hiatal hernia types is to imagine them visually. A sliding hiatal hernia refers to part of the stomach and the area of esophagus attached to it being pushed through the hole of the diaphragm that separates the abdomen from the chest. In the more serious paraesophageal hernia (also known as a rolling hiatal hernia), the stomach and attached esophagus are not pushed through the hiatus together, rather a section of stomach is pushed alongside the esophagus, creating an elongated lump next to the esophagus. Although sliding and paraesophageal hernias are the most common, there are two other types (commonly referred to as stages). Stage III is referred to as a mixed or rolling hernia where both common types exist simultaneously, and stage IV is associated with a hiatal hernia in which another organ becomes involved, most commonly the colon.

Typically, treatment is not required for a sliding hiatal hernia. Some individuals may find that they need to use medications to treat the symptoms of GERD, which may present when a hiatal hernia exists. For many people, there are few symptoms associated with the condition, however hiatal hernia pain can exist, commonly in the chest, and these types of symptoms should be promptly evaluated by a healthcare provider. The majority of the time, surgery for hiatal hernia is not required, although it is much more common in the case of a paraesophageal hernia. However, if there appears to be a risk of strangulation of the stomach, it is possible that surgery may be advised.

Much more common than surgery, persons experiencing the symptoms of a sliding hiatal hernia find that dietary changes can help reduce the majority of their symptoms. Heartburn and acid indigestion are responsible for creating discomforting in symptomatic individuals with a sliding hiatal hernia, and while proton pump inhibitors can be very effective at relieving these, a diet for hiatal hernia symptoms might perhaps be just as effective. Because acids in the stomach are much more easily brought up into the esophagus given the unnatural location of part of the stomach as is associated with the condition, highly acidic foods are best avoided. Citrus, chocolate, dairy and oil and butter can all bring about the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. In general, persons with a sliding hiatal hernia should avoid very fatty and very oily foods as well as those that are very spicy. Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as low or reduced fat alternatives to favorite foods are better choices.

In most cases, people with this most common type of hiatal hernia experience few symptoms, and those that they do are often brought about by the ingestion of certain types of foods. However, there are cases where further treatment may be necessary up to and including surgical repair. Because the exact cause of the condition is almost never determined (they can be caused from everything from strenuous bowel movements to coughing), prevention can be challenging. But, with proper medical care and a sensible diet, the common digestive disorder is easily managed.