Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Hernia

endoscopic surgery

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  • To determine whether you truly have a hiatal hernia, you will have to undergo several diagnostic procedures
  • If your doctor determines that surgery is not needed, treatment for hiatal hernia involves addressing the symptoms to make you more comfortable

To determine whether you truly have a hiatal hernia, you will have to undergo several diagnostic procedures. The most common methods include:1,2,3

Esophagram — An esophagram is the assessment of the functionality of the esophagus. This helps reveal structural abnormalities related to hiatal hernia, such as stomach twisting, poor gastric emptying or aspiration.

To perform an esophagram, you will have to drink liquid barium. The barium will coat your esophagus, stomach and small intestines clearly during an X-ray exam to get an overview of your current digestive health. This method is also known as a barium swallow.4

Endoscopy — A thin tube with a small flashlight and video camera attached to the tip will be inserted down your throat to examine your esophagus and stomach to determine the severity of the hernia.

Manometry — A catheter will be inserted through your nose, down your throat and into the stomach. The catheter will measure pressure and movement inside the esophagus to determine the severity of the hernia.

pH level test — A doctor will test the pH levels in your esophagus to determine the presence of acidity produced by the stomach.5

Treating Hiatal Hernia Naturally

If your doctor determines that surgery is not needed, treatment for hiatal hernia involves addressing the symptoms to make yourself more comfortable. If gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) develops as a result of hiatal hernia, certain measures will have to be followed to prevent stomach reflux as well, such as:6,7

  • Losing weight — Excess weight has been linked to various diseases, but did you know that it can also worsen the symptoms of GERD? That’s because the additional weight puts pressure on your chest, increasing the likelihood of food or acid backflow.8 To mitigate this problem, you must consume a healthy diet and get regular exercise. This will help you manage your weight and lower the chances of hiatal hernia, as well as other obesity-related conditions.
  • Timing your meals/splitting your food intake — If you mainly eat three main meals throughout the day, you may be putting strain on your stomach and esophagus by consuming large amounts of food. Instead, try splitting your meals into smaller portions.
  • Changing your sleeping position — To help your stomach stay in its place, you need to take advantage of gravity whenever possible, even while you sleep. When lying down, raise your head 6 inches higher than the rest of your body. This will also help prevent any food from going back up.
  • Avoiding foods that irritate your esophagus — You will have to remove certain foods from your diet such as tomato sauce and citrus fruits, as they contain acidic compounds that can irritate your esophagus and possibly trigger GERD. Chocolate, onions and spicy foods should be avoided as well, as they can cause heartburn.

Try This Massage for Your Hiatal Hernia

Certain massages can help pull down your stomach. The following procedure was developed by Dr. David Dahlman, a chiropractor who focuses on dietary nutrition:9

  1. Run your fingers upward, starting from the bottom of the ribcage until you reach the area under the breastbone, which is the soft area approximately in the middle of your chest.
  2. While your fingers are facing upward, push inward to your chest, then push downward.
  3. Do this procedure twice on the first day. If you feel any pain the next day, rest until the soreness subsides.
  4. Work up until you can do the procedure three to four times a day.
  5. Within two weeks, you can feel some improvement. Continue the massage until the symptoms have gone away.

Take note that before performing this procedure, consult with a doctor. If done incorrectly, it can cause discomfort instead of relief.

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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