The causes and symptoms of hiatal hernia
Hiatal hernia is a condition in which the stomach bulges into the chest cavity, mostly due to the weakened or defected muscle, which is called diaphragm, and which has the purpose to divide the chest from the abdomen. This happens when there is some kind of an injury to the stomach area, or when the surrounding muscles are under the constant and intense pressure, due to lifting things that are heavy, or due to coughing, vomiting or other straining activities. Some people are born with certain defects or abnormalities of hiatus, which also results in hiatus hernia.
Hiatal hernia can be either small or large, and if it is small, it usually does not cause problems to people, so they are often unaware of having it. However, large hiatal hernia causes serious problems related to nausea, heartburn, belching and even pain in the chest. If any of these symptoms are persistent, the person should schedule an appointment with the doctor.
Surgery for hiatal hernia
The treatment of hiatal hernia is required only in cases in which this condition causes certain problems and symptoms. The available methods include medications or surgery, but the fact is that surgery is done very rarely, usually only in the cases of emergency, or in cases in which the treatment with medications or change in diet, did not give any positive results.
This kind of surgery is done under general anesthesia, and depending on the case and type of the procedure, it may require one or two incisions, one for the surgery instruments, and another for the insertion of laparoscope, if necessary. During the surgery, in cases of the defect in the diaphragm, the stomach may need to be pulled out into the abdominal cavity, and the upper part of the stomach needs to be wrapped around the esophagus; in cases of a weakened esophageal sphincter, it is necessary to reconstruct it, while other cases simply require the removal of hernia sac.
Depending on the case, the surgery for hiatal hernia can be done on inpatient or outpatient basis, which means that the patient may go home the same day, or may be required to stay in the hospital for a few days after the surgery. However, the recovery period takes approximately from the two to four weeks, after which the patient can go back to everyday activities and normal life.