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Health

Could it be hiatal hernia?

What is hiatal hernia?

It occurs when the upper part of your stomach pushes up through your diaphragm and into your chest region. This condition is mostly common in people who are over 50 years.

Causes of hiatal hernia.

The exact cause is not known. But they might include;

Being born with a larger hiatal opening than usual.

2. Injury to the area.

3. Changes in your diaphragm as you age.

4. A rise in pressure in your belly, as from pregnancy, obesity, coughing, lifting heavy or straining on the toilet.

Symptoms.

1. Heartburn from gastroesophageal reflux disease.

2. Chest pain.

3. Burping.

4. Trouble swallowing.

5. Upset stomach and vomiting.

6. Shortness of breath.

7. Backflow of food or liquid from your stomach into the mouth.

Diagnosing hiatal hernia.

1. A barium swallow involves drinking a special liquid then x-rays to help see problems in the esophagus (swallowing disorders) and stomach( ulcers and tumors). It shows how big the hiatal hernia is and if there is twisting of the stomach as a result of the hernia.

2. An esophageal manometry measures the strength and muscle coordination of your esophagus when you swallow.

3. A pH test measures the acid levels in the esophagus and helps determine which symptoms are related to acid in the esophagus.

4. Gastric emptying studies examines how fast food leaves the stomach.

Treatment.

Most people with hiatal hernia do not have any signs and symptoms and won’t need any treatment. If you experience signs and symptoms such as recurrent heartburn and acid reflux you may need medication or surgery.

1. Medication.

1. Antacids that neutralize stomach acid such as mylanta, Rolaids and Tums may provide quick relief.

2. Medications to reduce acid production. These medications known as H-2 receptor blockers include; cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine(pepcid) and nizatidine(Axid).

3. Medications that block acid production and heal esophagus. They are known as proton pump inhibitor – they are stronger than H-2 receptor blockers and allow time for damaged esophagus tissue to heal.

2. Surgery  Surgery to repair hiatal hernia may involve pulling your stomach down into your abdomen and making the opening in your diaphragm smaller, reconstructing an esophageal sphincter or removing the hernia sac.

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