The Various Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia

heartburn

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  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a complication that can develop due to hiatal hernia or a weak esophageal sphincter
  • It’s important to remember that hiatal hernia and GERD are not mutually exclusive. Some people with hiatal hernia do not develop GERD, while others may have GERD, but not a hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernia is usually asymptomatic and there’s a low chance for it to cause health complications.1

In fact, it’s estimated that only 10 percent of people who have hiatal hernias show symptoms.2 Here are some examples that these people may experience.

When Symptoms Appear, You May Have GERD

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a complication that can develop due to hiatal hernia or a weak esophageal sphincter. It occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing uncomfortable symptoms, such as:3

Heartburn: This is a burning sensation felt in the middle of the chest area, often after eating.

Acid reflux: The stomach acid can reach the back of your mouth, causing your tongue to sense an unpleasant taste.

Esophagitis: This refers to an inflamed esophagus. You may have difficulty swallowing, along with abdominal pain.4

Hiatal hernia can cause other symptoms that you need to be aware of, such as:

Vomiting blood

Dark, tarry stools

Heart palpitations

Cough and fever

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

It’s important to remember that hiatal hernia and GERD are not mutually exclusive. Some people with hiatal hernia do not develop GERD, while others may have GERD, but not a hiatal hernia.5 In other cases, pregnancy and obesity are possible causes of this condition.6

Signs of Hiatal Hernia in Fetuses

When a fetus develops hiatal hernia, it is called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). It usually happens eight weeks into the pregnancy, when the diaphragm has trouble developing. CDH doesn’t cause any symptoms at first because the infant is using the umbilical cord for sustenance.7

In CDH, not only does the stomach go up the diaphragm, but also the intestines, the liver and the spleen. If it is not treated and the baby is born, it can cause various complications, such as:8

Scoliosis: This is a spinal curvature.

Respiratory issues: Impaired lung growth and weak respiratory health can most likely occur.

GERD: Children with CDH can develop GERD as they grow older.

Deformity: Some children may develop a breastbone deformity known as pectus excavatum.

Pulmonary hypertension: CDH can constrict the flow of blood to the lungs, causing various issues such as blue lips (especially 24 hours after birth), low blood pressure and skin retractions in the ribs during fast breathing.9

Strangulated Hernia Can Cause Severe Symptoms

Strangulated hernia occurs when the herniated portion of the stomach becomes twisted and blood flow is cut off. This causes severe chest pains and difficulty swallowing. When this happens, you need to visit a doctor immediately for treatment.10

When to Seek Medical Attention

Make an effort to visit a doctor if you continue to experience chest pains and other uncomfortable problems for an extended period of time, such as heartburn and a sour taste in your tongue. The chest pain you’re experiencing can be confused with a possible heart attack as well, so have yourself diagnosed so you can undergo the proper treatment.11

MORE ABOUT HIATAL HERNIA

Hiatal Hernia: Introduction

What Is Hiatal Hernia?

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

Hiatal Hernia Causes

Hiatal Hernia Types

Hiatal Hernia Treatment

Hiatal Hernia Surgery

Hiatal Hernia Prevention

Hiatal Hernia Diet

Hiatal Hernia FAQ

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