The advancements in medical science have improved the lives of people to a great extent. Many of the diseases and health conditions that were termed as deadly or hard to cure are now considered minor with more than a single treatment option.
However, there might have been the decrease in many of the highly complicated diseases, a variety of other diseases have developed that require constant medical attention and take a lot of time in treatment.
A condition which is not very well known though there is an increasing number of people having it is the hiatal hernia. This particular condition is one of the hardest to manage and complicated due to its various types and development forms.
Hiatal hernia, also known by the name of a hiatus hernia, can develop in many parts of the body causing abnormal bulging of areas and organs into one another. Mostly, the earlier developments of hernia begin in the diaphragm – the muscular area that lies between the lower abdomen and chest.
Diaphragmatic hernia is so far the most common hernia that is seen in about 13 to 60 percent of the adults. In accordance with the studies, many of the adults over the age of 50 either have a risk or a hernia or already have the minor developments in their body.
However, many of the people having this condition are not even aware of having it. A part of why hiatal hernia is complicated is the symptoms. There are many times when a patient of hernia might not even have any visible symptoms until it reaches a dangerous stage.
Some of the most important organs in the body particularly the ones that are needed in the digestive system are located in the abdomen including the lower part of the esophagus, small intestine, stomach, rectum, colon, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder
Disorders starting in this part of the body can especially have highly dangerous effects that can lead to damage and dysfunction in either of these organs. According to Cleveland Clinic, women are middle-aged and older are at the highest risk of developing hernia.
Some factors that can also increase the risk of having this condition in women and others is being overweight, high cholesterol, poor diet, obesity, other concerns such as fluctuating blood-glucose levels or hypertension, diseases, and pregnancy.
The signs of hernia might not appear for many people but it has been observed that it is related to and mostly begins with other health conditions such as GERD, heartburn, acid reflux, and anemia as all of these also occur due to the same causes as hernia.
Some of the most common causes of hernia are obesity/being overweight, high levels of untreated inflammation, poor diet, prolonged problems in any of the organs in the digestive system, and taking certain medicines.
What Is Hiatal Hernia?
Hiatal hernia can be hard to understand since it comes in many types and can begin in different areas of though for most people it starts off with diaphragmatic hernia. It can be explained in the simplest possible way as the bulging of the stomach into the chest.
The condition develops when a part of the stomach pushes into the chest through the opening known as hiatus which is included in the digestive system and connects the esophagus or the food pipe with the stomach.
In the light of recent researches, there are four possible types of hernia that can happen to people with the Type 1 being the most common. In this type, there is a widening of the circumferential laxity of the phrenoesophageal membrane and muscular hiatal tunnel.
This leads to a portion of the gastric cardia to move or herniate in the upward direction. The rest of the types of hernia also include the phrenoesophageal membrane and occur in about 5-15 percent of hiatal hernia cases.
Type II happens because of a certain defect in the phrenoesophageal membrane while type III can have effects of both of the previous types. Type IV is considered the most dangerous one because the defect is the biggest in it.
Hiatal hernia can be extremely painful because the stomach of the person having it is pressing into the diaphragm and into the chest. However, the occurrence of relevant symptoms may not happen to all of the people having it.
When the symptoms do appear, they happen to be similar to other disorders like acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease also known as GERD. About 20% of the people having hernia have these signs almost every other day.
An important thing to notice here is that the symptoms of these other disorders might appear in a person having hernia but the condition is not responsible for them.
Since most of the mentioned disorders have the same causes as that of hernia, there are high chances the person having it has either one or more of those while having hernia. Others can also have only hernia but statistically more people have multiple conditions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hernia?
Having symptoms of hernia is not very common especially if the person does not have conditions with similar causes. The usual signs that are associated with a hernia are heartburn, irritation of the throat, and pain in the chest.
A person can have very visible symptoms if he or she has GERD or acid reflux symptoms but your doctor might still suggest a test for a proper diagnosis as there can be the possibility of you not having hernia but just these disorders.
Other possible symptoms that can be associated with hiatal hernia include:
- Dry Mouth
- Bitter or sour taste in the mouth (either constantly or in periods)
- Regurgitation of acidic foods
- Waking up to coughing and choking
- Gum Irritation
- Bloating (especially after meals)
- Bad breath
- Pain in the chest (especially if you are breathing fasting during or after an activity)
- Pain in the stomach
A person with hernia that has reached dangerous stages can have visible symptoms as well as a person who directly developed a type IV hernia. Some severe signs of hernia that can come later are:
- Extreme soreness and dryness in the throat
- Hiccups that remain for a long time
- Black stools or blood vomiting (also the sign of damage in the esophagus)
- Unable to bend down or sit due to discomfort in the stomach area
- Narrowing of esophagus and difficulty in swallowing
- Chronic coughing
- Extreme weight loss
- Burping, gassiness, belching, and flatulence after having a meal
- Hoarseness on waking up (that can last throughout the day)
- In extremely severe cases where the person also has GERD, there may be the development of bleeding ulcers in the esophagus and the possibility of another condition known as Barrett’s esophagus which can also cause esophagus cancer
The Most Important Signs To Look Out For
Many people tend to take the heartburn and pain in the stomach as everyday conditions that can appear when you have certain types of food or due to other common reasons. There are, however, a number of warning signs you can look out for.
Severe pain in the abdomen and chest that might feel like a heart attack are the most important signs after having sudden vomiting, constant nausea, painful bloating, and chronic constipation. If you are experiencing any two of these signs, talk to your doctor immediately.