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What is a Hiatal Hernia?

Normal hiatal
A hiatal hernia is a condition that causes part of your stomach to bulge through the hiatus (small opening) in your diaphragm (muscle use for breathing). The stomach part could move up and down, or it could get caught in the diaphragm. Hiatal hernias can cause heartburn, backflow of acid or undigested food, throat burning, sensation of food retention in the chest, swallowing problems, abdominal pain, chest pressure, among others. How do you treat this condition? Find out!

What are the different types of Hiatal Hernia?

There are 4 main types that have been developed regarding this condition:

Type 1: Sliding hiatal hernia

Sliding hiatal hernia is the most common type. The herniated portion of the stomach slides back and forth, into and out of the chest. These hernias are small to moderate size and usually cause a burning sensation also known as heartburn, stomach pain and reflux.

There are several triggers for acid reflux, including meals. For more information on this regard, read Dr. Arevalo’s article on foods that cause GERD and acid reflux.
hiatal hernia type 1

Type 2: Paraesophageal hernia

Hiatal hernia type 2
In this case, the upper part of the stomach passes through the hiatus and is caught up in the chest.

Paraesophageal hernia generally presents with vague and nonspecific symptoms such as the feeling of fullness, difficulty swallowing, chest pressure, upper abdominal discomfort, and distention.Occasionally they can present with serious complications such as gastric obstruction, perforation or bleeding. Surgical treatment is recommended in almost all symptomatic cases.

Type 3: Combination of type 1 & 2

A very common type of hiatal hernia and is the combination of type 1 and type 2

Type 4: is a larger hiatal hernia with other organs such as colon pancreas or spleen herniating into the chest.

What to do?

Hiatal Hernias interfere with the proper function of the valve (lower esophageal sphincter) between the stomach and esophagus leading to acid reflux and potential serious complications. The treatment to be applied in each case of hiatal hernia will largely depend on the situation of each individual. It can range from Scarless endoscopic surgery to minimally invasive robotic hiatal hernia surgery. Please feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Arevalo to learn the right treatment for you.

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