Dealing with hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia forms when an area in the stomach moves upward through the diaphragm. The diaphragm has a small opening or hiatus through which the esophagus passes on its way to the stomach. The stomach might push up through the opening and result to a hiatal hernia.

Causes of hiatal hernia

  • Weak supportive tissues
  • Pressure placed on the stomach and the surrounding muscles
  • Age-related changes in the diaphragm
    Hiatal hernia

    Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as paracetamol to lessen the discomfort.

  • Being born with an unusually large hiatus or opening in the diaphragm
  • Poor posture while sitting and lifting heavy objects
  • Obesity
  • Stress

Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent belching
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of fullness after meals
  • Vomiting blood or passing black stools which indicates gastrointestinal bleeding.

Treatment

  • Eat at least 6 small frequent meals every day. Avoid large and heavy meals to prevent back flow of food to the stomach and lessen the symptoms of hiatal hernia.
  • Avoid eating spicy foods, caffeinated drinks and anything that upsets the gastric contents of the stomach and worsen the condition.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter antacids before meals to lessen the symptoms.
  • Avoid lying down, bending over or being physically active after meals to prevent back flow of food to the stomach.
  • Loss some weight to lessen the symptoms.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as paracetamol to lessen the discomfort and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin to lessen the inflammation and pain.
  • Perform simple exercises such as walking. Take a brisk walk for at least 45 minutes every day to strengthen the uppper and lower abdomen and the pelvic floor.
  • After waking up in the morning, drink a glass of water that is slightly warm. It will relax the muscles of the stomach and diaphragm. Avoid drinking coffee, tea and cold water in the morning.
  • Self-massage the upper area of the abdominal cavity to lessen the discomfort and symptoms of hiatal hernia. Massage can strengthen the muscles of the stomach.

Tips

  • Perform proper body mechanics when lifting heavy objects. Lift heavy objects using the knees and not the back. Bend low using the knee when.
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Eat dinner 2-3 hours before going to sleep
  • Elevate the head of the bed at least 4-6 inches
  • Avoid straining during bowel movements.

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