Hiatal Hernia

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which the upper part of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm. Dr. Edward Hill discusses hiatal hernias in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

A hernia is the pressing of an organ through an opening in the muscle wall of the cavity that protects it. With a hiatal hernia, a portion of the stomach pushes through the hole where the esophagus and the stomach join.

The most common cause of a hiatal hernia is an increase in pressure on the abdominal cavity. Pressure can come from coughing, vomiting, straining during a bowel movement, heavy lifting or physical strain. Pregnancy, obesity or excess fluid in the abdomen also can cause hiatal hernias.

In some people, acid and digestive juices escape from the stomach into the esophagus. This causes:

* heartburn,

* a bitter taste in the back of the throat,

* bloating and belching,

* discomfort or pain in the stomach or esophagus, and

* vomiting.

Patients with hiatal hernias rarely need surgical correction. Successful treatment usually involves treating the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease that are triggered by the hernia.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.