Hiatus Hernia

see also Indigestion

Caused by a weakening of the tissue around the hole (hiatus) in the diaphragm through which the oesophagus descends to the stomach; this allows the top of the stomach to protrude up through the diaphragm, exerting back pressure on the valve between it and the oesophagus; this gradually weakens the valve, allowing acid from the stomach to well up into the oesophagus (reflux oesophagitis). This backflow of acid is felt as heartburn, a burning pain in the chest; pain sometimes extends to the neck and arms, and may be mistaken for Angina; bending or lying down encourages backflow and so makes discomfort worse. If condition is not treated, oesophagus may become ulcerated - in rare cases the ulcers bleed and lead to Anaemia - or very scarred, leading to stricture of the oesophagus. Conventionally treated by giving antacids, taken after meals, to neutralize the acid floating on top of the stomach contents (however, antacids may not be appropriate if person has High Blood Pressure, kidney disease, Kidney Stones, or intestinal bleeding); also by giving drugs which increase rate at which stomach empties; surgery is a last resort.

Self-help: If you are overweight, try to lose weight (hiatus hernia is seldom helped or cured in people who remain overweight). Eat slowly, so that you do not swallow air, and never have a meal late at night. Avoid stooping, especially after meals. Raise the head of your bed by 10 cm (4 in) or so - if you cannot do this because you have swollen ankles, see your medical doctor. Wear loose clothing. Avoid alcohol and smoking. Slippery Elm Food, taken last thing at night, is often beneficial.

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View Related

Ailment & Diseases

  High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  Kidney Stones (Renal Calculi)
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Other Treatments

  Slippery Elm Food

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