A hiatal hernia is a condition where the top half of your stomach pops into your chest cavity, using an opening in your diaphragm. The condition manifests in two ways:
The sliding kind
This type of hiatal hernia happens when your hernia is the result of a sliding motion, which happens during periods of increased pressure on your abdominal cavity. When the pressure lessens, your stomach returns to its usual position over time and with gravity.
The fixed kind
Also called a paraesophageal hernia, this kind of hernia doesn’t involve its counterpart’s sliding-up-and-down motion. With this sort of hiatal hernia, a part of your stomach is stays stuck in your chest cavity.
Hiatal hernias are so common that by age 60, up to 60% of people experience the condition to some extent. At Turnquest Surgical Solutions, our doctors, Dr. Dexter Turnquest and Dr. Brandon Fadner, believe in keeping our patients informed about their health and well-being. So we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you better understand hiatal hernias.
Symptoms and risk factors
You can tell you might have a hiatal hernia when you experience symptoms such as:
- Pressure or pain in your chest
- Pain in your upper abdomen
- Trouble swallowing
You should see a doctor when your symptoms persist or it becomes unclear whether they’ll go away on their own. While there is no specified cause of a hiatal hernia, there are some potential contributing factors, including:
- Bad posture
- Frequent coughing
- Straining from constipation
- Regular bending or heavy lifting
- Problems at birth
Treating a hiatal hernia
At Turnquest Surgical Solutions, we treat hernias with laparoscopic surgery. A laparoscopy uses a laparoscope, a thin tube with a light and camera, to help guide the operation.
We use this method because it involves only a few incisions in your abdomen, less pain, and reduced recovery time. Symptoms of pain and discomfort usually pass within 48 hours, and the procedure can be performed in an outpatient setting.
Leaving a hiatal hernia untreated can result in pain and serious illness. The blood supply to the trapped portion of your stomach can lose blood flow and result in serious illness, so it’s important to seek treatment at the first signs of illness. If your symptoms become severe enough, you’ll need surgery for your hiatal hernia.
Don’t wait for the problem to progress. Call us at Turnquest Surgical Solutions, send us a message here on our website, or use our online booking feature to set up an appointment today.