Is Your Hiatal Hernia Causing Acid Reflux?
Nissen fundoplication in Macon treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and hiatal hernia.
Pregnancy, diabetes and dietary choices are all common contributors to acid reflux—however, hiatal hernias tend to fly under the radar when it comes to this condition.
Hiatal hernias occur when a portion of the stomach protrudes into the diaphragm causing a bulge. To effectively prevent stomach contents from refluxing back into the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and the esophageal hiatus (opening in the diaphragm that separates the abdominal cavity from chest cavity) must both function properly. Hiatal hernias are known to weaken the LES making it easier for stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus. This is why many people who have hiatal hernias often experience symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Dealing with Acid Reflux and a Hiatal Hernia
Depending on the size of the hiatal hernia and severity of acid reflux, your GERD surgeon may suggest undergoing a procedure known as Nissen fundoplication. Macon residents suffering from less severe symptoms of acid reflux with a hiatal hernia may benefit from making several lifestyle and dietary changes to improve symptoms. However, it’s important to get proper diagnosis before making any changes—over time, untreated chronic acid reflux can lead to serious health complications.
You can help control symptoms of acid reflux associated with your hiatal hernia by making the following changes:
- Avoid putting excess pressure on the LES. Try not to do any heavy lifting, straining or bending over when possible. Instead, try improving your posture through stretching techniques and making an effort to stand after mealtime rather than sitting. You should also consider sleeping on an incline where your head is raised at least four to six inches off of the bed.
- Avoid excess weight gain. The slightest amount of weight gain (even when you’re of normal weight) can increase the incidence of acid reflux. Stay in shape by participating in low-impact exercise such as cycling, swimming or walking.
- Watch what you eat. People with hiatal hernia-induced acid reflux symptoms should avoid consuming fried and fatty foods, as well as foods and drinks containing caffeine, chocolate, alcohol and peppermint. These are only some of the foods known to exacerbate symptoms of acid reflux.
- Watch how you eat. Avoid eating large meals and instead consume smaller, more frequent healthy meals throughout the day. You should also consider refraining from eating at least two to three hours before you go to sleep.
Not all cases of hiatal hernia will cause acid reflux. If you are experiencing hiatal hernia-related acid reflux, you may benefit from implementing some of these lifestyle and dietary changes. If your symptoms persist or are more severe, it’s wise to inform your GERD specialist. Your condition may require Nissen fundoplication in Macon before further health complications arise.