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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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