Could a Hiatal Hernia Be Causing Your Reflux?

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Oftentimes over-the-counter meds are not effective in treating acid reflux. Cases of severe acid reflux may be the result of a hiatal hernia. Depending on the severity of the hernia, symptoms may vary. Hiatal hernia symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Frequent burping
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Burning in the throat
  • Nausea 
  • Regurgitation
  • Chronic Cough

To understand this ailment better, let us offer you a little more explanation on the anatomy of a hiatal hernia. The esophagus connects the throat to the stomach. It passes through the middle of the chest and enters the abdomen through a hole in the diaphragm called the esophageal hiatus. When part of the stomach is herniated or pushes through the abdomen into that opening in the diaphragm, this is what is known as a Hiatal Hernia. This hernia forces food, liquids, and oftentimes stomach acid back up through the esophagus causing the burning, pain, and other symptoms listed above.

All Hiatal hernias do not cause symptoms, but there is a risk that the blood supply to the stomach can become constricted or cut off. Often, people with a hiatal hernia have a disease known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). 

Hiatal hernias do not heal on their own and may require surgical intervention. A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed through imaging or with an endoscopy procedure, both considered outpatient testing and done in the safety of Coffee Regional Medical Center. Dr. Chet Royals with CRH Surgical Group is a board-certified surgeon experienced in the repair of Hiatal hernias. If you suspect that you may have a hiatal hernia and would like to set up an appointment with Dr. Royals to discuss please call (912) 384-5832.