A hiatal hernia is an anatomical abnormality that occurs when part of your stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm. Our diaphragm normally has a small opening (hiatus) through which food tube (esophagus) passes on its way to connect to the stomach and if the stomach pushes up through this opening causes a hiatal hernia. Increased pressure in the abdomen such as from pregnancy, obesity, coughing or straining during bowel movements may cause hiatal hernia and sometimes the cause is unknown for some people.
People who are overweight, especially women and people older than 50 are at the risk zone of having hiatal hernia. The hernia can cause gastro-oesophageal reflux and you my experience heartburn and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed with a specialized X-ray or by endoscopy. You won’t need hiatal hernia treatment, if you are not facing any sign and symptoms of hiatal hernia. If you experience heartburn and acid reflux, you may need treatment, including medications or surgery.
Hiatal hernia treatments
Following are the usual treatment of hiatal hernia:
- Antacids: Antacids such as Gelusil, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums may provide quick relief of some of the symptoms of hiatal hernia. They help to neutralize stomach acid. But antacid medicines don’t work for everyone and should not be taken at the same time as other medicines because they can stop other medicines from being properly absorbed by your body.
- Alginates: It works as an alternative medicine to antacids by producing a protective coating that shields the lining of your stomach and oesophagus from the effects of stomach acid. Thus, it is used as a treatment for hiatal hernia. Medicines that reduce acid production: Cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR) and ranitidine (Zantac 75) can be used as treatment for hiatal hernia by reducing acid production.
- H2-receptor antagonists: A medicine called H2-receptor antagonist (H2RA) may be recommended if a hiatus hernia causes GERD. Cimetidine, famotidine and ranitidine are the examples of H2RAs. H2RAs are helpful to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and thus it works as a treatment for hiatal hernia. You may face side effects including diarrhea, headaches, tiredness and a rash because of H2RAs.
- Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs): These medications including omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole and esomeprazole are used to block acid production and aid in healing damaged esophageal tissue. So they should be taken as treatment for hiatal hernia.
- Prokinetics: Domperidone and metoclopramide are the examples of prokinetic medicines which gives less opportunity for acid to irritate your oesophagus by making your stomach empty.
- Surgery: A hiatal hernia requires surgery in a small number of cases for emergency situations and when the problem fails to respond to lifestyle changes and medication.One of the most common surgical techniques used as a treatment for GERD and hiatus hernias is Laparoscopicnissen fundoplication (LNF).
- Para-oesophageal hiatus hernia: If the stomach pushes up through the hole in the diaphragm next to the oesophagus then it is called Para-oesophageal hiatus hernia and surgery may be recommended as a treatment for hiatal hernia.
Changing lifestyle can be an effective treatment for hiatal hernia
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals rather than three large meals a day as hiatal hernia treatment.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn, such as chocolate, onions, spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomato-based foods, Garlic, Salt and Coffee as hiatal hernia treatment.
- Marshmallow is helpful in soothing the mucous membranes for hiatal hernia treatment.
- Avoid lying down just after taking your meal as a treatment for hiatal hernia. Wait at least 3 hours after eating before you lie down so that your digestive system can function properly.
- Taking regular physical exercise to lose extra weight is considered as the treatment for hiatal hernia since obesity is a risk factor for hiatal hernia.
- Quitting smoking and alcohol or cut back as much as you can, would be a helpful treatment for hiatal hernia.
- Make a proper position when you sleep, it aid your digestion system and raise the head of your bed 6 inches.
- Drink a glass of warm water on empty stomach after you get up in the morning.
- Avoid bending over or stooping especially after eating or drinking as hiatal hernia treatment.
- Apple cider vinegar can be used as the treatment for acid reflux problem since it has a calming effect on stomach acid. Try to drink a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar every day as hiatal hernia treatment.
- Low-acid diets including melons, bananas, broccoli, oatmeal, whole grains, fish and skinless chicken or turkey can avoid common reflux triggers. Try to have these foods as your treatment for hiatal hernia.
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea up to four times a day, between meals as hiatal hernia treatment as it is a natural remedy for digestive conditions.
- Mix a teaspoon of cinnamon powder into a cup of hot water and drink a few cups throughout the day as an easy treatment for hiatal hernia.
- Coconut water is a natural acid neutralizer that can bring quick and soothing relief to your heartburn problem thus it can be very useful as a treatment for hiatal hernia.
- Wear loose comfortable clothes since tight fitting clothes can block the digestion system.
- Mucilaginous herb like slippery elm or comfrey can be used as hiatal hernia treatment as they absorb the digestive secretions and prevent their traveling back up the esophagus and burning it.
- Marshmallow is effective in soothing the mucous membranes for hiatal hernia treatment.
- Peppermint, chamomile, ginger root and fennel can aid digestive system by preventing the interference of hernia.
If you maintain a healthy and stress free life, it is easy to keep yourself away from complications of hiatal hernia. If you don’t feel any improvement, don’t be late to consult a doctor.