Hiatal Hernia: What are Hiatal Hernia Symptoms and Causes?

Hiatal hernia refers to the protrusion of the upper area of the stomach into chest cavity. This occurs due to an opening in the diaphragm (a tissue). It is a common condition and usually occurs in 60% of people above 60 years. This article presents some common hiatal hernia symptoms and causes.

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

Usually, hiatal hernia does not cause any symptoms. However, some hiatal hernia symptoms that might be noticed are:

  • Chest pain
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Gas
  • Belching
  • Coughing
  • Hiccups
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal discomfort

Sometimes, serious hiatal hernia symptoms might be observed like:

  • Vomiting blood
  • Palpitations (feel heart beating very fast)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dark stools
  • Feeling dizzy
  • High fever
  • Excessive coughs or hiccups

In such cases, one needs to contact a doctor as soon as possible.

Hiatal hernia causes

The common suspected hiatal hernia causes are given below:

  • Obesity
  • Poor posture, like slouching
  • Frequent coughing
  • Frequently putting pressure on the bowel movement, due to constipation
  • Frequent bending over
  • Frequent lifting of heavy objects
  • Smoking
  • Congenital defects (birth deformity)
  • Heredity

Types of hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernia can be classified into two:

Sliding type:

When the increased pressure makes the junction between the esophagus and the stomach slide up, it is called sliding hiatal hernia. Similarly, relieving the pressure will bring down the stomach to its normal position. It is the most common type of hiatal hernia.

Fixed type:

When the protruding portion of the stomach remains fixed in chest cavity, it is known as fixed hiatal hernia or paraesophageal hernia.

Once the hiatal hernia is detected the hiatal hernia treatment and diet should be followed to rectify the condition.


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