The condition is marked by protrusion of the stomach into the chest area. This is frequent among males over 50. Children afflicted with this ailment are usually born with it.
Hiatal Hernia Signs
One of the early symptoms is increased belching frequency. Another warning sign is sore throat leading to difficulty in eating. There is a pain in the chest area and this can be accompanied by heartburn. The heartburn is more felt when the patient is lying down. If not treated, the stomach will swell upward.
Not all of these minor and major symptoms appear. Some people will probably experience only a few. It is advisable to see a doctor, because the symptoms could be misconstrued for another illness. The stomach pain might be mistaken for gas pain and wrong medication is taken. Only by going to a doctor can proper diagnosis be possible.
Hiatal Hernia Diagnosis
The process begins with the doctor examining the symptoms as described by the patient. This is necessary to determine the extent of the ailment. The doctor may supervise a complete physical examination. If needed, cholesterol and blood tests will be undertaken. These tests are to be done to rule out any other possible ailments.
Other diagnostic processes that may be performed include the Barium swallow x-ray. An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) will be done if deemed necessary. These and other similar exams are used to assess the spread or stage of the ailment. The results will influence the medication to be given.
Hiatal Hernia Treatment
The treatment objectives are two fold: to eliminate the symptoms and prevent health complications. Complications include anemia or pulmonary aspiration. If the hernia closes down it could lead to strangulation. The purpose of the medications is to limit the flow of stomach contents towards the esophagus.
These drugs are used to limit acidity and restrict their production. These medications also fortify the esophageal sphincter. Other medications will be given in case complications have already developed. Rest is also part of the treatment.
In rare cases, the hernia will not respond to the medication or new symptoms emerge. See the doctor if this occurs.
Medication for children with this condition may differ depending on the health conditions and complications.
Hiatal Hernia Prevention and Cause
Avoid eating large meals; it is better to have more frequent but smaller portions. One of the suspected causes is obesity, so a balanced and proper diet is recommended. Keeping the weight down to the suitable scale is an important preventive step.
Bending over after a heavy meal must be avoided. Lifting of heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activity after meals must be prevented.
Researchers point to smoking as another possible cause. Whether it is indeed a primary factor is still unclear. But it is better to quit smoking as it is responsible for other ailments. Regular exercise is also suggested to keep the weight at the right level.
A majority of hiatal hernia cases respond very well to treatment. With proper weight maintenance and a healthy diet, the prognosis will be very good for the patient.