Hernias can come with a variety of signs and symptoms. While most hernias may be apparent with a visible lump or bulge, hiatal hernias will have no visible outward indication. The warning signs of a hiatal hernia are always on the inside. Due to the varying symptoms and the lack of a lump with hiatal hernias, this type of hernia can be commonly mistaken for something less severe. It’s important to understand the warning signs of a hiatal hernia and to seek expert medical guidance if one is suspected. The collaborative team of expert surgeons at the Los Angeles Hernia Surgery Center of Excellence provide the most advanced hiatal hernia diagnosis and treatment available.
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
The hiatal hernia develops at the area of the diaphragm where the esophagus meets the stomach. The upper part of the stomach bulges through a weakness in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is basically an internal wall of skeletal muscle that separates the stomach from the organs in the chest. The exact cause is not always known, but there are known risk factors that can make you more susceptible.
Hiatal Hernia Symptoms
Hiatal hernias are not always noticeable. However, when the hernia grows in size and severity, symptoms may become noticeable. When there is a hole in the diaphragm, acid from the stomach can easily pass through. A hiatal hernia itself is usually not the root cause of any symptoms. Instead, it’s the acids that move through the herniated area that are responsible.
Possible hiatal hernia symptoms include :
- Chest pain
Acid reflux is also commonly associated with hiatal hernias. Acid reflux is when the acid from the stomach moves up into the esophagus, causing a variety of internal symptoms.
Hiatal Hernia Risk Factors
Although the exact cause isn’t known, there are some known risk factors that can increase the odds of developing a hiatal hernia.
Obesity – When people are overweight, the excess fat that they carry can push down on the abdomen. This pushing results in a greater pressure on the abdominal contents and can lead to an internal rupture.
Straining – Like with obesity, straining can apply excess pressure to certain areas of the body. Constant heavy lifting or straining can place unneeded pressure on your diaphragm, raising the likelihood of hernia development.
Smoking – People who smoke have a much higher likelihood of developing a hiatal hernia than those who don’t. The nicotine from tobacco smoke is known to weaken some internal muscular structures in the body, like the diaphragm. When the diaphragm is weakened, it can be more prone to attaining a weak spot or hole in which a hernia may develop. The constant coughing associated with smoking can also strain abdominal muscles and lead to a hernia.
Age – Hiatal hernias are more common in adults over the age of 50. This can be attributed to the general weakening of the diaphragm over time as we age. When combined with other known risk factors, the odds of developing a hiatal hernia can be very high. Because of this, hiatal hernias can be quite common.
Hiatal Hernia Treatment
A hiatal hernia may require surgery, but may sometimes be treatable with medications, stress reducing exercises, or a prescribed diet. Hiatal hernias may sometimes have little symptoms whatsoever, so techniques other than surgery may be employed. However, if the hernia grows and becomes more severe with chronic acid reflux, surgery is usually recommended.
At the Los Angeles Hernia Surgery Center of Excellence, our doctors specialize in a broad range of hiatal hernia treatments. Whether it be through a prescribed diet and exercise program or a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, our doctors will use the most advanced techniques to ensure an optimal and quick recovery.
Contact Hernia Surgery Los Angeles Today
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with a hernia expert in Los Angeles, please contact our center today by calling (888) 418-2082. During your initial consultation with one of our expert hernia care physicians, we’ll be able to conduct a proper examination in order to determine the best course of action for treating your individual case.
For additional information, contact Hernia Surgery Los Angeles today.
Next, learn about hiatal hernia and acid reflux.