What is a hiatal hernia?
There is a small opening known as the hiatus in your diaphragm that separates your abdomen and chest. Your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your throat into your stomach, passes through the hiatus. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach pushes up through the hiatus and bulges into your chest cavity.
Hiatus Hernia Q & A
When is surgery required for a hiatal hernia?
In many cases, hiatal hernias don’t cause symptoms. You don’t need to have a surgical intervention unless it’s interfering with your quality of life.
A large hernia may cause uncomfortable symptoms including:
- Severe heartburn
- Acid reflux
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or liquids into the throat and mouth
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
In very severe cases, you may experience gastrointestinal bleeding characterized by vomiting of blood or the passing of black stools. Surgery is the only way to resolve these issues caused by the hernia.