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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 January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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