Your diaphragm is a thinnish, dome shaped muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. Your esophagus passes through this muscle through an opening called the hiatus. When the tissue around this opening becomes weak and relaxes too much or the opening is too large naturally, the stomach bulges up through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity making digestions difficult. If the hernia is small, chances are you won’t have any symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms you should seek medical care.
How do I know if I have a hiatal hernia?
- Difficulty swallowing
How do I prevent a hiatal hernia?
You cannot prevent a hiatal hernia. It is caused by injury, being born with a large hiatus, or straining during coughing, vomiting, bowel movements and lifting large objects.
How can I treat a hiatus hernia?
- Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day so your stomach doesn’t over fill.
- Avoid heartburn triggering foods such as chocolate, onions, spicy food, citrus and tomato foods.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Eat two hours before bedtime.
- Lose weight so you’re at a healthy weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Try elevating the head of your bed by about six inches to help avoid heartburn.
- Strengthen the muscles by laying on your back, bending your knees with your feet flat on the floor and lifting your buttocks and lower back off the floor. Repeat 10 times a day.
- Take marshmallow to help soothe the mucus membranes and prevent ulcerations from heartburn.