How can heartburn and reflux be signs of a hiatal hernia?

How can heartburn and reflux be signs of a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia is a small bulge in the stomach through the hiatus. The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm of the stomach that connects to the esophagus. The cause of the hiatal hernia is unknown, but it is argued that it is normally caused due to weak tissues.

The hernia also has a crucial role in developing the acid reflux and gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) , also known as a chronic form of acid reflux. There are various treatments based on the different symptoms and stages. It may require a close observation if it’s mild or a surgery in case of severity.


There are not many noticeable symptoms of a hiatal hernia until the stomach protrudes out of proportion through the hiatus. Mild or smaller hernias have negligible symptoms that are not distinctive. In such cases the patient is not even aware unless he gets himself medically checked.

In severe cases, hiatal hernias are large in size and create problems in proper digestion of food and the stomach secretes acid to reflux into the esophagus.

The common symptoms GERD that you would experience are –

  • Pain in the chest that increases even when you bend over or lie down
  • Heart burn
  • Regular tiredness and fatigue
  • Irresistible abdominal pain
  • Having trouble in swallowing or dysphagia
  • Burping frequently than normal
  • Sore throat

There are many factors that can lead to acid reflux. It is better to get yourself medically tested in case you have a hiatal hernia or any other abnormal symptoms related to GERD. Always consult a doctor if you have any symptoms related to acid reflux that cannot cured by diet or lifestyle changes.


In case of hiatal hernia, the barium swallow X-ray or the esophagram is most commonly used to detect the issue. Doctors might ask you to fast eight hours before the test so that the stomach and esophagus are visible clearly on the X-ray. Endoscopy is also used to diagnose the hiatal hernia.


The treatments vary depending on the severity of the hiatal hernia. The smaller ones are only watched closely so they don’t become large and cause much trouble to the patient. In case of heartburn, doctors prescribe medications to avoid turning them into bigger sized hernias.

GERD medications are helpful in reducing the pain and the lining that is formed on the esophagus caused by acid reflux. Doctors also advice to maintain a proper eating and sleeping schedule and ask you to avoid citrus food products, caffeine, chocolate, oily foods, peppermint that may cause heartburn. Alcohol and smoking also needs to be stopped when you are diagnosed with hiatal hernia.


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