Hernias may cause GERD
A hiatal hernia is commonly caused by weak tissues and muscles surrounding the diaphragm, causing part of the stomach to slide into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, called the hiatus. The majority of people that have a hiatal hernia do not experience any symptoms. However heartburn can often be an indication of a hiatal hernia, especially if the pain occurs after eating or at night in bed.
How is a hiatal hernia treated?
People who don’t experience symptoms of their hiatal hernia may not need any treatment. Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications may be par for the course if your hiatal hernia is causing you mild symptoms. Lifestyle changes that are recommended for a hiatal hernia include eating smaller meals instead of large meals, waiting two or three hours after eating to lie down, avoiding spicy and citrus foods, and limiting consumption of alcohol, mint, and chocolate. Losing weight, quitting smoking, and stopping chewing tobacco are also helpful, as is refraining from wearing tight clothing around your waist. If you’re experiencing nighttime heartburn, you may obtain relief by elevating the head of your bed up to eight inches.
For more serious hiatal hernia conditions and GERD symptoms, your Macon physician may recommend a Nissen fundoplication procedure. Nissen fundoplication is a surgical procedure that can be performed when lifestyle changes and medications fail to remove symptoms. In addition, if a hiatal hernia compromises blood flow to the stomach, Nissen fundoplication surgery to repair your hernia will likely be recommended.