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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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Joy Mali

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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