Hiatal hernia is a muscle that separates the two regions when your belly bulges into the poitrine (chest) through an opening in your diaphragm. The opening is known as hiatus, and so the condition is called hiatal hernia.
Two types of hernia exist-
In ordinary circumstances, the food pipe passes through the hiatal hernia and is connected to the abdomen. Your stomach and bottom of your oesophagus slip up through the diaphragm in a sliding hiatal hernia. This form is common to most persons with hiatal hernia.
A paraesophageal hernia is worse. Wherever your oesophagus and your stomach stay in their place but a part of the stomach presses through the hiatus to rest near your oesophagus. It can pinch your stomach and result in loss of blood. This could be considered a strangulated hernia by your doctor.
Typically, a minor hiatal hernia is not troublesome. If your physician does not notice it while testing for another disease, you will never know you have one. However, a major hiatal hernia will lead to heartburn that can return food and acid to your oesophagus. These symptoms may typically be alleviated by self-care interventions or medicines. A very significant hiatal hernia may require to be operated.
What are the symptoms of hiatal hernia?
A minor hiatal hernia may not show any signs or symptoms until it’s discovered by the doctor while diagnosing for some other ailment or disease. However, while suffering from major hiatal hernia one may experience the following symptoms-
- Heartburn from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Trouble swallowing
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Backflow of food or liquid from your stomach into your mouth
- Bad taste
- Upset stomach and vomiting
If one experiences such symptoms, a doctor must be consulted.
Why does one experience hiatal hernia?
The condition of hiatal hernia usually happens when the tissues weaken and therefore are not able to restrict the movement of the stomach in the upward direction towards the diaphragm.
Other reasons for hiatal hernia could be the following-
- Age factor may cause some changes in the diaphragm.
- Sometimes, surgery can also injure the area, making it weak.
- In some conditions, babies are born with naturally large hiatus.
- Certain actions can expose the muscle to immense pressure such as lifting heavy weights, while vomiting or coughing, smoking, applying excess pressure during the bowel movement etc, leading to weakening of tissues and aiding to the condition of hiatal hernia.
- The problem of hiatal hernia is usually faced by people who are above 50 in age or people suffering from obesity.
This condition can be improved with exercising and losing weight, but it helps to treat the condition of hiatal hernia, one must keep in mind, not to engage in exercises which worsens their condition by putting more stress in the abdominal region. One must take up those exercises which will not further worsen their hernia but help in getting some relief.
People often have this question in mind, whether they should be exercising with the condition of hiatal hernia. Exercising can prove to be beneficial even while suffering from hiatal hernia as it will aid weight loss, which can prove to be beneficial in treating the symptoms.
However, one must keep in mind to indulge in those exercises which do not put pressure or stress in the stomach as it may worsen the condition.
The following exercises can be engaged in, in order to improve the condition of hiatal hernia-
- Simplified yoga
- One has to keep in mind to do low-intensity workout, which will help to deal with the situation. Exercises such as crunches, sit-ups, squats with weights, such as dumbbells or kettlebells, deadlifts, pushups, heavy weighted machines and free weights, inversion yoga poses, must be avoided.
Exercises for hiatal hernia
In order to treat hiatal hernia, one can include the following exercises-
- Exercises to strengthen the diaphragm:
One must focus on strengthening the diaphragm. Deep breathing exercises prove to be beneficial as it helps to improve the efficiency of the flow of oxygen. When these exercises are performed for a long period, it will also help to strengthen the diaphragm.
One can follow these steps to strengthen their diaphragm:
- Sitting in a yoga position by crossing your leg and placing one hand on your stomach and the other one on the chest.
- Respire as intensely as possible before you feel the stomach rubbing against your side.
- Holding the position for a few seconds and then exhaling to come back to the normal position.
- This exercise should be performed daily to get quick relief.
Yoga involves breathing exercises and can help improve the conditions and work wonders if performed regularly. Yoga will not only help to strengthen your diaphragm but also aid in achieving overall improved strength and flexibility.
One must opt for breathing yoga exercises such as chair pose which can help to strengthen the abdominal region and will also not expose it to any kind of strain or stress. Yoga positions which involve stretching and straining of the stomach must be avoided.
People suffering from hiatal hernia can also go for a weight loss program which will help them to improve these symptoms. Along with exercising for weight loss, one must also focus on their diet as diet aids the weight loss process. Only those exercises should be done which does not put any strain in the abdomen region.
Usually, people are born with this condition and there is no way to treat hiatal hernia, but there are certain habits one can adopt to treat hiatal hernia by themselves-
- Avoid smoking– in order to treat the problem of hiatal hernia, one must stay away from smoking. In case, you are a regular smoker, consult a doctor to help to quit this habit.
- While gyming, avoid lifting heavy weights as it may worsen your condition. You must talk about hiatal hernia with your gym trainer so that he plans a workout accordingly.
- One should have their dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Also, lying down immediately after having food must be avoided.
- One might also need to avoid certain food such as tomato, onion, spices and caffeine as it can be heat-burn triggering food and prove to be fatal while suffering from hiatal hernia.
- Tights clothes must be avoided, as it can trigger acid reflux in the body.
- One should make sure to keep a pillow at a height such that your head is around 8-10 inches elevated from the rest of the body.
The condition of hiatal hernia is common with the age group of 60 and above. This can be treated by adopting the above-mentioned methods and remaining consistent.