What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia can vary in nature and severity between individuals. Most people with hiatal hernia have no symptoms or complications. When symptoms of hiatal hernia occur, they can be related to acid reflux (regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus) because some people with hiatal hernia also have a condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia can range in severity from mild to severe and include:

  • Acidic taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Epigastric pain or burning, which can run from the stomach area up to the mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion

Symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition

In some cases, hiatal hernia can result in serious or life-threatening complications, such as strangulated hiatal hernia or esophageal ulcers. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have the following symptoms:

  • Inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas

  • Sudden or severe chest pain

  • Vomiting blood


What is a hiatal hernia?

Hiatal hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach pushes up abnormally through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. The normal hiatus permits the esophagus to transfer swallowed food to the stomach. Hiatal hernia is also called a hiatus hernia.

A hiatal hernia is often not a se... Read more about hiatal herniaintroduction


What causes a hiatal hernia?

In most cases, the cause of hiatal hernia is not known. Some cases of hiatal hernia are caused by the following conditions:

  • Coughing
  • Injury
  • Pregnancy and delivery
  • Straining during bowel movements
Read more about hiatal herniacauses


How is hiatal hernia treated?

Treatment of hiatal hernia includes an individualized, multifaceted plan that minimizes the discomfort of symptoms and decreases the risk of developing complications, such as strangulated hiatal hernia. Treatment varies depending on the severity of symptoms; the type of hiatal hernia; the presence of coexisting diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and your age and medical h... Read more about hiatal herniatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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