Comprendiendo la Hernia Hiatal

Breaking Down Hiatal Hernia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Treatment and Care of the Department of General Surgery and Gastroenterology at Hospital CMQ

Hiatal hernia is a gastrointestinal condition that can significantly affect the quality of life of those who suffer from it. This condition involves the displacement of part of the stomach into the chest through the diaphragm. Likewise, this condition, which affects many people, often manifests with uncomfortable symptoms and digestive discomfort. In this article, our outstanding medical team from the Department of General Surgery and Gastroenterology at Hospital CMQ will explain everything about this type of hernia that frequently affects people over 50 years of age who suffer from obesity and are smokers.

Do you suffer from heartburn, and reflux or have a hard time digesting food? If so, you could be experiencing symptoms of a hiatal hernia – reach out to our experts for an evaluation!

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Multidisciplinary Approach to the Diagnosis of Hiatal Hernia at Hospital CMQ

At CMQ Hospital we acknowledge the importance of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to understanding our patients’ needs. From advanced imaging tests to detailed clinical evaluations, our medical focus is based on obtaining an accurate and personalized diagnosis.

In addition, our medical team, composed of experts in general surgery and gastroenterology, works closely together from the very beginning of your visit. This approach is not only essential to understanding your hiatal hernia symptoms but also lays the foundation for an effective treatment plan tailored to your needs.

What is a hiatal hernia?

Hiatal hernia is a medical condition that occurs when the upper part of the stomach slides into the esophagus. This movement happens because of an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. This opening is part of the barrier that separates the esophagus from the stomach. Therefore, if this barrier is not functioning effectively, a hernia can form.

While this type of hernia can affect people of all ages, it is more common in people over the age of 50. In addition, other risk factors include obesity, pregnancy, chronic coughing, smoking, and heavy lifting. Symptoms can range from heartburn and chest pain to difficulty passing food. Therefore, it is essential to seek medical attention if you experience persistent symptoms.

What is a hiatal hernia?

Types of Hiatal Hernia

According to our research, there are four types of hiatal hernias. The vast majority of hiatal hernias are called type I, or sliding hiatal hernias. Type II, III and IV hiatal hernias are called paraesophageal hernias.

Sliding Hiatal Hernia or Type I:

In this type of hernia, the junction between the esophagus and stomach and a portion of the stomach slides up through the hiatus into the diaphragm. This is the most common form of hiatal hernia. It can cause symptoms such as heartburn, reflux, and, in some cases, irritation of the esophagus.

Paraesophageal Hiatal Hernia or Type II, III, and IV:

In this type of hernia only a portion of the stomach slips past the esophagus. Although less common, this type of hernia can present additional risks, such as the possibility of the stomach becoming entangled with the diaphragm. If this occurs, it could interfere with blood flow to the stomach and require urgent medical attention.

Types of Hiatal Hernia

Understanding Hiatal Hernia: Most Common Symptoms and Signs

Most hiatal hernias are small and do not cause any problems or symptoms. For this reason, you may not know you have one unless your doctor discovers it while doing some other checkup. However, a larger hiatal hernia can cause certain symptoms, among them:

  • Heartburn: A burning sensation in the chest due to acid reflux from the stomach into the esophagus.
  • Reflux: Involuntary backflow of food or liquid from the stomach into the esophagus or mouth.
  • Chest Pain: May feel like pressure or pain in the chest, which is sometimes mistaken for heart problems.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Sensation of food getting stuck in the esophagus.
  • Excessive Belching or Hiccups: Hiatal hernia can cause frequent belching or hiccups.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some people may experience nausea and vomiting, especially after eating.
  • Abdominal Pain: Discomfort or pain in the upper abdominal area.
  • Sensation of ‘Lump’ in Throat: Some people may feel a lump or something stuck in the throat due to chronic reflux.


However, it is important to note that symptoms can vary from person to person, and not all hiatal hernias cause significant discomfort. If you experience persistent symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis.

Timely Diagnosis and Treatment for Hiatal Hernia at Hospital CMQ

According to our experts, a hiatal hernia is discovered during a consultation or procedure to determine the cause of your heartburn. Some of the procedures our specialists use to diagnose a hiatal hernia are:

  • Endoscopy: A thin tube with a camera on the end is inserted down the throat to visualize the esophagus and stomach.
  • Chest X-ray: This x-ray is used to look at your digestive system to diagnose a hiatal hernia.

Our experts emphasize that a hiatal hernia without symptoms does not require treatment. However, treatment for a hernia will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Our doctors will first try to treat your symptoms with medication and lifestyle changes. However, if this does not work and your symptoms persist or worsen, surgical intervention is recommended.

Hernia Surgery: Postoperative Care and Rehabilitation

Occasionally, a hiatal hernia requires surgery. Surgical intervention is usually recommended for people who do not benefit from conservative treatment. Hiatal hernia surgery is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. This procedure involves a series of small incisions in the abdomen. In addition, because it is a minimally invasive surgery, recovery is faster.

Hiatal hernia surgery involves positioning the stomach in its usual place and reducing the size of the opening of the diaphragm. This is done to prevent the hernia from recurring and to ensure that acid does not come back out of the stomach. The procedure takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. Similarly, after hernia surgery, the patient is discharged the next day. The patient must rest and follow a balanced diet that includes mostly soft foods.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is a medical condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes through the hiatus. The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm that allows passage from the esophagus into the abdomen. This can cause symptoms such as heartburn, reflux, difficulty swallowing, and, in some cases, chest pain.

When a hiatal hernia is large and inflamed, symptoms may intensify. Some common signs of an inflamed hernia include frequent and severe heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and feeling very full after meals, among others.

Hiatal hernia is not always curable, but symptoms can be controlled with treatment. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medication, and, in more severe cases, surgery.

Some strategies to help deflate a hiatal hernia include: Avoiding spicy, acidic, and fatty foods, losing weight, sleeping with your head elevated to avoid reflux, and not lying down after eating. However, it is important to see a healthcare professional for personalized treatment.