In case of hiatal hernia or hiatus hernia, a part of your stomach pushes upward into the lower chest area because of defect in the diaphragm. A large flat muscle which separating our lungs from the abdomen, it helps us to breath. In general, the diaphragm normally has a small opening through which the esophagus (food tube) passes on its way and get connected with the stomach. If the stomach pushes upward through its opening that will cause you hiatal hernia. Most of the time the hiatal hernia symptoms are hidden. Your doctor may test you for other complications and detect hiatal hernia. The small hiatal hernia is not a matter of concern, if it is bigger then there is a risk of complication in the future. If you have hiatal hernia you have a higher risk of developing acid reflux disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If your doctor detects hiatal hernia symptoms in you, treatment start with acid suppressing medications. Usually the medications work well if the case in not so severe.
Hiatal hernia mostly attacks people aged 50 years or above. Some overweight people may also be affected, especially women. It is also very common in smokers.
Hiatal Hernia Symptoms
Before talking about hiatal hernia symptoms. There are small and big hiatal hernia.
If the hiatal hernia is small. It will not cause any noticeable signs or symptoms.
If the hiatal hernia is big. There can be so many symptoms related to acid reflux. As we have already said you will not see any typical symptoms specifically for hiatal hernia. If you are going to take a chest X-ray or abdominal X-rays (e.g. upper GI series and CT scans) then you may incidentally find hiatal hernia.
The most common hiatal hernia symptoms are due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When the digestive enzymes will flow back to the esophagus (food tube). It can also be found during gastrointestinal endoscopy of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (EGD).
- Heartburn: In case of heartburn, you may feel a chest pain or uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest and lower chest area. Most people get confused it with heart attack.
- Difficulty Swallowing: This is the most common sign of hiatal hernia.
- Nausea or vomiting: You may feel uncomfortable, like you are going to vomit. Sometimes spit up or vomiting also.
- Belching: Also known as burping. People expel air from the stomach through the mouth.
- Fatigue: You may feel fatigue sometimes.
- Acidic feeling: You may feel acidic in the mouth, lots of saliva comes to the mouth.
- Uncommon symptoms: Sometimes there are some uncommon symptoms. For example, persistent cough at night, severe chest pain, bad breath and sore throat. These problems can be easily confused with other problems.
Remember hiatal hernia symptoms are not always similar to acid reflux signs. Some people may have hiatal hernia, but no acid reflux or GERD.