A hernia is a common problem that occurs in almost six people out of ten. Over the years, several studies have revealed this medical problem to be curable. But the treatment varies for different types of hernia and its stage. For instance, if the hernia is diagnosed early, medicines and a changed lifestyle can prove to be effective. But when it is detected during an advanced stage, most doctors prefer surgical treatments.
As noted earlier, hernia is of several types, one of them being hiatus hernia. This article will provide brief information about this medical condition, followed by explanations of different treatment processes.
What is a hiatus hernia?
The chest and abdominal cavities are demarcated by a muscular membrane known as a diaphragm. Through this diaphragm passes the esophagus or food pipe. It then meets the upper part of the stomach, slightly beneath the diaphragm.
Hiatus hernia is a medical condition where a part of the stomach moves through the diaphragm opening into the chest cavity and forming a swell. There are two types of hernia based on the movement of the abdominal parts into the thoracic cavity.
- Sliding hernia: In this type of hernia, the junction of esophagus and stomach pushes through the diaphragm and enters the thoracic cavity.
- Paraesophagul hernia: Here, a certain part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus in the diaphragm and sits right next to the esophagus.
Causes of hiatus hernia
The exact cause of hiatus hernia is not yet known. But doctors have rounded up some of the probable conditions that can lead to this medical condition. These include:
- Too much physical strain at the junction of thoracic and abdominal cavities can push the stomach into the chest cavity.
- Any injury to the diaphragm or change in its elasticity can lead to a hiatus hernia.
- Sometimes, pregnancy with twins or triplets can cause the stomach to slide through the diaphragm, forming the hiatus hernia.
Symptoms of hiatus hernia
Unlike other types of hernia, hiatus hernia occurs internally, and that’s why you won’t be able to observe any visible symptoms. This is why you need to be aware of the symptoms so that you can easily visit the doctor for diagnosis. Following are some symptoms that may indicate the presence of hiatus hernia:
- Excruciating pain at the junction of chest and abdomen with a pressure developing in the upward direction
- Heartburn and gastritis owing to the passing of the stomach into the chest cavity
- Difficulty in breathing followed by shortness of breath due to reduced thoracic cavity and extension of muscles in between the rib cages
Is hiatus hernia curable?
One of the main concerns of patients suffering from hiatus hernia is whether the medical condition is curable. Many patients even consider this to be a terminal disease, assuming that the health condition will impact lungs and heart, causing fatality at any point of time. Once you experience any symptom described above, you must visit a doctor without any delay.
What are the treatment processes for hiatus hernia?
There are two types of hiatal hernia treatment, depending on the condition of the hernia. In the section below, we have explained both the treatment processes so that you can have a better idea.
In the initial stage, the swelling or hernia is small in shape and doesn’t cause any pain. It also doesn’t cause any form of shortness of breath or increase in pressure in the thoracic cavity. However, people suffering from this type of hernia usually have recurring symptoms of gastritis and bloating. Hence, most doctors take different approaches to reduce gastric production in the stomach and its passage into the chest cavity through esophagus.
- During the initial stage, doctors give antacid medications to reduce the burning sensation from acid reflux and also help in mitigating the burning of the inner stomach membrane that might cause gastric ulcers.
- H-2 receptor blockers are also prescribed because these components prevent acid formation in excess of what is necessary. As a result, the chances of suffering from gastric ulcers or gastritis will be reduced.
- Also, sometimes they prescribe prokinetics to facilitate peristaltic movements in the esophagus and stomach, ensuring food can pass through the food pipe into the stomach and then to the duodenum.
In the advanced stage, hiatus hernia treatment depends on the surgical methods. Since it involves several organs, doctors usually opt for the laparoscopic method. First, a small incision is made in the belly region, and the stomach is pulled down through the hiatus in the diaphragm. Once done, stitches are made to close the opening, and a synthetic net is placedto strengthen the muscular membrane.
Hiatus hernia treatment doesn’t involve any major surgery or extreme treatment methods. But still, you should maintain a proper lifestyle during treatment and post-surgery to ensure the hernia doesn’t bleed or worsen your pain. Surgical treatment is performed at top-rated hospitals like BLK-Max, Max Hospital India and Max Healthcare, to name a few.