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How is a hiatal hernia treated?

Over-the-counter or prescription-strength medications treat stomach acid production, helping to minimize acid reflux symptoms caused by a hiatal hernia. Antacids and H-2 receptor blockers help to alleviate heartburn and acid reflux. Proton pump inhibitors (lansoprazole or omeprazole) block the amount of acid produced in the stomach, giving the esophagus time to heal. Medications are an effective treatment for hiatal hernia symptoms, helping to reducing the need for surgery.

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A hiatal hernia is a condition in which the upper part of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle wall that separates the stomach from the chest. The diaphragm helps keep acid from coming up into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia makes it easier for the acid to come up, causing gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Hiatal hernias are common, especially in people over 50. Most cases are treated with lifestyle modification and medication. Sometimes, laparoscopic surgery is needed to reduce the hernia.

Most hiatal hernias require little or no treatment, and are typically found incidentally at the time of an upper endoscopy (EGD) to evaluate acid reflux. Hiatal hernias predispose patients to heartburn (acid reflux) as hernias disrupt the normal connection between the swallowing tube (esophagus) and the stomach. A majority of patients with hiatal hernias respond well to medications used to treat acid reflux by blocking the production of stomach acid. Large hiatal hernias can cause patients to have difficulty swallowing, low blood counts, or uncontrollable reflux, and consequently, may need to be surgically corrected, usually through a laparoscopic approach.                 

Continue Learning about Hernia

Hernia

There are several kinds of hernias, but the all happen when pressure pushes an organ (often the intestine) through a weak spot in a muscle face or wall. Different kinds of hernias have different risk factors. 4/5 of all hernias ar...

e inguinal hernias, where the intestine (or occasionally the bladder) pushes through the lower abdominal wall-near or into the groin. Most of these occur in men, although they are also common in newborns because the abdominal walls in babies are weak. Treatment for hernias can be no treatment, to medicines to surgery. Many hernias are not serious, although larger ones certainly can be, and complications can include an obstruction of the digestive tract. Modern surgical methods to treat hernias are much improved over older techniques and recovery times are much shorter.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.