A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm. Your diaphragm normally has a small opening (hiatus) through which your food tube (esophagus) passes on its way to connect to your stomach. The stomach can push up through this opening and cause a hiatal hernia.
In most cases, a small hiatal hernia doesn’t cause problems, and you may never know you have a hiatal hernia unless your doctor discovers it when checking for another condition. But a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to back up into your esophagus, leading to heartburn. Self-care measures or medications can usually relieve these symptoms, although a very large hiatal hernia sometimes requires surgery.
Small hiatal hernias
Most small hiatal hernias cause no signs or symptoms.
Large hiatal hernias
Larger hiatal hernias can cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Difficulty swallowing
A hiatal hernia occurs when weakened muscle tissue allows your stomach to bulge up through your diaphragm. It’s not always clear why this happens, but pressure on your stomach may contribute to the formation of hiatal hernia.
How a hiatal hernia forms
Your diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle that separates your chest cavity from your abdomen. Normally, your esophagus passes into your stomach through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. Hiatal hernias occur when the muscle tissue surrounding this opening becomes weak, and the upper part of your stomach bulges up through the diaphragm into your chest cavity.
Possible causes of hiatal hernia
Hiatal hernia could be caused by:
- Injury to the area
- Being born with an unusually large hiatus
- Persistent and intense pressure on the surrounding muscles, such as when coughing, vomiting, or straining during a bowel movement or while lifting heavy objects
Lifestyle changes may help control the signs and symptoms of acid reflux caused by a hiatal hernia. Consider trying to:
- Eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than a few large meals.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn, such as chocolate, onions, spicy foods, citrus fruits and tomato-based foods.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Eat at least two hours before bedtime.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese.
- Stop smoking.
- Elevate the head of your bed 6 inches (about 15 centimeters).
Home Remedies for Hiatal Hernia
Many individuals believe the only remedy for the condition is a surgical hiatal hernia repair. While this procedure is often effective, it is not the only option. Many home remedies for hiatal hernia are available and effective. Apple cider vinegar can be used to treat the acid reflux and other symptoms commonly associated with a hiatal hernia. Likewise, baking soda, orange peel and chamomile tea can offer relief of several symptoms.
The following steps can be implemented to relieve or eliminate the symptoms caused by hiatal hernias:
*Avoid cigarette smoke.
*Eat a healthy diet and most of all, do not overeat.
To relieve or eliminate symptoms of acid reflux/Gerd:
*Mix one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in an 8 oz glass of water and sip during meals.
*Take probiotics to keep the beneficial bacteria in your intestines thriving.
*Digestive enzymes will help proper digestion.
Herbs that will help ease the symptoms of acid reflux/GERD are the following:
*Slippery Elm Tea is a very effective remedy. It covers the mucus membranes of the esophagus with a protective coat that relieves inflammation caused by acid. Slippery elm also helps to lower excess acidity by stimulating increased mucus production.
*Calendula Tea soothes inflamed tissue and reduces inflammation.
*Gentian Tea, an age-old digestive aid, prevents heartburn. Simmer one teaspoon of gentian in a cup of water for 30 minutes. Sprinkle just a pinch of ginger and cayenne in the tea. Drink one-half hour before meals.
*Chamomile, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, is a natural remedy for digestive conditions. Drink a cup of chamomile tea up to four times a day, between meals.
*Cinnamon helps calm and soothe the stomach.