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?
- Old age
- Major trauma
- 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.