High Hernia

All About A High Hernia

A hiatal or high hernia is similar to a hernia. It is a protrusion of tissue through the muscle that is right next to the skin. With a high hernia, the bulging is in the diaphragm and this separates the chest and abdominal area. The opening of the diaphragm is called the hiatus and this is where the bulging occurs.

This condition is caused by weakened tissues and muscles in the chest area and stomach that surround the hiatus. Para esophageal, sliding and mixed are the 3 different types of a high hernia. When a small area of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm and into the chest, this is called a sliding hiatal or high hernia.

A female is more likely to have this condition than a male and most people do not start to have this problem until mid life. As the person ages the problem can become worse. Although most people who suffer from a high hernia are advanced in age, there are children and young adults who also have it. Usually, people who have had surgery on the stomach or are extremely obese suffer from this condition more than others.

There are many causes for a high hernia and most of them are repeated actions done over a long period of time. For example, if you are constipated for an amount of time and have to strain to have a bowel movement, this puts pressure on the muscles that surround the hiatus.

Perhaps one of the reasons why women suffer more than men with this condition is because of pregnancy. Being pregnant not only puts pressure on most internal organs but constipation and having to strain is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy.

A person who is obese also is more likely to have a high hernia. Extra fat and weight around the stomach and chest area can contribute to this condition and this weight can also put pressure on all muscles as well as the abdomen. If the obese person continues to gain even more weight, the problem can worsen.

Severe vomiting and coughing can strain the muscles. People who suffer from either of these conditions can have problems with a high hernia. Cancer sufferers who are undergoing chemotherapy or people who have chronic emphysema usually also have problems with stomach pressure and muscle weakness.

Most people who have these hiatal hernias do not have any symptoms. The symptoms may appear over time but they are not severe. When a sufferer does have symptoms they can be a sensation of having something stuck in your throat, acid reflux and heartburn. 

It is recommended by doctors that people suffering from these symptoms, limit the acidic and spicy foods that they consume. This includes caffeinated beverages and chocolate. They can help with acid reflux by lying on an elevated pillow so that the reflux does not reoccur. A doctor may also prescribe an acid reducing medication or antacid.

The only time this condition requires surgery is when a strangulated hiatal hernia happens. This is considered dangerous and the problem must be addressed immediately. This causes lack of blood supply to the tissues and it can also cause heavy internal bleeding. A person may also become anemic when this happens. The surgeon will correct the problem by putting the tissue back where it belongs. This is called a laparoscopic procedure. He uses a small telescope like instrument that has a camera. With this tiny camera he can make 2 incisions in the abdomen and easily correct the problem. Along with placing the tissues back where they belong, he will also reinforce the muscles.