Hiatal Hernia

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia is when an internal organ (typically the stomach) protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest area.

What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

The most common symptom is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which causes heartburn and/or the taste of acid in the back of the mouth. Patients may also experience chest pains and/or trouble swallowing.

What are the risk factors of a hiatal hernia?

  • Obesity
  • Old age
  • Major trauma
  • Scoliosis
  • Increased pressure on the abdomen (e.g. sneezing, vomiting, straining, stress)
  • Post-surgical complications

The treatment of hiatal hernias

Most hiatal hernias do not require treatment. However, in cases where the hernia is causing significant pain and/or discomfort to the patient, sometimes surgery can be indicated. There are several risks associated with such a surgery, so it is usually only performed when absolutely necessary.