A hiatal hernia may often go unnoticed due to the fact that unless it is quite large, the symptoms that accompany this type of hernia are often non-existent or easily mistaken for another type of illness. The truth is that a hiatal hernia can cause shortness of breath and for anyone experiencing light-headedness, dizziness, or who find themselves gasping for air, a proper examination by a qualified health professional is a must.
Hiatal Hernia Causes
A person’s torso is divided horizontally by the diaphragm. This large muscle separates the stomach area from the upper chest. This strong muscle is penetrated in the middle by the esophagus and this is where the problems can occur. A hiatal hernia is due to this opening becoming enlarged and weakening enough to allow the top portion of the stomach to force its way into the upper chest cavity. If the stomach stays partially trapped in the chest cavity it is called a “fixed hiatal hernia”. There is also a “sliding hiatal hernia”, which happens when the stomach may migrate up and down through the opening over and over again. Both conditions can be almost asymptomatic unless the hernia is large. For this reason, the problem is often confused with other diseases and conditions especially due to the fact that it can actually cause many problems!
Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia
If the hernia is large enough to cause symptoms then the form is usually pain, heartburn, acid reflux, congestion, and shortness of breath. Knowing what causes hiatal hernia means that it is easy to see how all of these symptoms can present themselves. As the chest cavity becomes filled with portions of the stomach, the subsequent pressure can limit lung space, shift the esophagus, and create a feeling of pain and pressure. This pressure can prevent the lungs from filling fully and may leave a sufferer never able to get a really deep breath.
Hiatal Hernia Treatment
In most cases, drugs are used to treat the symptoms and signs of hiatal hernia. If the hernia is large enough then surgery may be necessary. This may be done through an abdominal incision or it can also be laparoscopic is come instances. The stomach is pulled back through the “hole” in the diaphragm and this opening is tightened. Other measures may be taken as well. Fortunately, hiatal hernia repair by surgery is only necessary in a small number of cases.
No one should suffer when there are many effective hernia treatments available. For anyone that finds themselves short of breath a visit to the doctor is a must especially if this is also accompanied by GERD type symptoms as well.
by Bob Parker