We Know: All About Hiatal Hernias

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hernia occurs when an internal body part pushes into an area where it should not be located. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach pushes into the chest through the muscular wall (the diaphragm) that separates the two areas. The hiatus is the opening in that wall where the esophagus normally goes through to the stomach, but when the stomach pushes through the opening, itís called a hiatal hernia.

What are the two major types of hiatal hernias?

  • A sliding hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach and the esophagus slide into the chest.
  • A paraesophageal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus so that is next to the esophagus. This is less common, but more problematic because it can cut off the blood supply to the stomach. Also, it may occur without symptoms.

What are the causes of hiatal hernias?

Causes can include:

  • an injury to the body
  • improper development of the hiatus
  • stress caused by weight gain, coughing, pregnancy, bowel movements

Who is likely to get a hiatal hernia?

These hernias occur most often in people over fifty, overweight people and smokers.

What about treatment?

Many people with hernias suffer no symptoms and no treatment is necessary. In cases where blood flow to the stomach is cut off, surgery may be necessary.

Common misspellings for this topic: hiatel, hiatus, hietal, hyatal, hiatle, haital, hital, hyatel, hyenal, hiato

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