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Hiatal Hernia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Hiatal Hernia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

When an internal body part pushes itself into an area where it does not belong, this medical condition is known as a hernia. Furthermore, a hiatal hernia is a medical condition in which a small tissue of stomach sticks out through the opening in the diaphragm into the chest cavity. The hiatus is a diaphragm opening which separates the abdomen from the chest cavity.There are two different types of Hiatal hernias: a para esophageal hernia and a sliding hernia. In most cases, a hiatal hernia does not cause any pain or other problems. Furthermore, you may never know that you have this medical ailment unless your doctor discovers during a check-up. But if you have the large hiatal hernia, it can allow stomach acid and food to back up into your esophagus which leads to heartburn. In this post, I will take you through every aspect of a hiatal hernia and answer common questions of patients.

What are the causes of Hiatal Hernia?

In most of the cases, the real cause if a hiatal hernia is not known. There can be the plethora of causes if this ailment. It is possible that a person may be born with a larger Hiatal opening. In addition, increased pressure in the abdomen such as from obesity, pregnancy, coughing, or straining during bowel movements may also cause this ailment.

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What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

Many people having hiatal hernia never have any symptoms. Some people have same symptoms as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which occurs when different digestive juices move from the stomach back into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include:

  • Heartburn
  • Bitter or sour taste in the back of the throat
  • Bloating and belching
  • Discomfort or pain in the stomach or esophagus

Although there appears to be a link between GERD and hiatal hernia, one condition doesn’t seem to cause the other. There are many people who have GERD without having a hiatal hernia and others a hiatal hernia without GERD.

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Another symptom of a hiatal hernia is chest pain and in some cases stomach pain. Since chest pain can also be a symptom of many other diseases like heart attack and stomach gas, it is important to contact your doctor if you experience chest pain.

Who Is at High Risk for Hiatal Hernia?

This medical ailment occurs more often in women as well as people older than 50 and people who are overweight.

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How is a Hiatal Hernia Diagnosed?

A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed with a specialized X-ray (using a barium swallow) that allows a doctor to see the esophagus or with endoscopy.

What is the Treatment of Hiatal Hernia?

Most people don’t experience any symptoms of a hiatal hernia so no treatment is necessary in the case of a small hiatal hernia. However, it can sometimes cause your stomach to be strangled. If you are  experiencing this issue, your doctor may recommend you a small surgery to cure it completely. Other symptoms include stomach and chest pain–which should be evaluated properly.

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When is Hiatal Hernia Surgery Necessary?

There are various effective treatments for a hiatal hernia available that can cure it without any surgery. In case the hiatal hernia becomes severe and is in danger of becoming strangulated or constricted (so that the blood supply is cut off), then a small surgery may be required to reduce the size of a hernia. This means putting it back where it belongs.

How Can Hiatal Hernia be Prevented?

Lifestyle and dietary adjustments help to control a hiatal hernia. Remember  the following points for effective prevention from this ailment:

  • Avoid reclining after meals.
  • Avoid acidic foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Eating small frequent meals so as to keep the pressure on esophageal sphincter.
  • Eat a high-fiber diet.
  • Elevating the head of the bed a few inches can improve both the quantity & quality of sleep.

Wrapping it All Up

A hiatal hernia is not a perilous ailment, but in absence of proper care and medication, it can become severe. A healthy lifestyle and proper exercise can help you stay away from this ailment.

Featured photo credit: Stomach Pain via digestionresource.com

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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