Hiatal Hernia Specialists

Illinois Gastroenterology Group -  - Gastroenterology

Illinois Gastroenterology Group

Gastroenterology located in Elgin, IL, South Elgin, IL & Lake In The Hills, IL

Having worsening problems with acid reflux? It could be a hiatal hernia. The providers at the Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Elgin, Illinois, are board-certified specialists with extensive expertise in diagnosing and treating hiatal hernias. They’re also well known for their patient-centered approach to medicine, taking time to listen to your concerns. Schedule a visit today. Call the office or book an appointment online.

Hiatal Hernia Q & A

What is a Hiatal Hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the diaphragm that separates your abdomen and chest. This large, dome-shaped muscle has a small opening (hiatus) through which the esophagus, the tube that carries food to your stomach, passes.

When a weak point or hernia in the musculature of the diaphragm allows the stomach to push through the hiatus and into your chest, the result is a hiatal hernia.

What Causes a Hiatal Hernia?

It’s not always clear what causes a hiatal hernia, but your risk can increase with:

  • Obesity
  • Age-related changes to the diaphragm that typically happen when you’re over 50
  • A larger than usual hiatus

Other problems and illnesses that strain the diaphragm can also be linked to hiatal hernia, including:

  • Chronic bronchitis and other conditions that cause prolonged or frequent coughing
  • Persistent constipation that causes you to strain with bowel movements
  • Vomiting
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Strenuous exercise

You can also develop a hiatal hernia after an injury or certain types of surgery.

What are the Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia?

Small hernias might not cause any symptoms. A larger hiatal hernia can result in:

  • Frequent heartburn
  • Stomach acid backing up into the esophagus (acid reflux)
  • Problems swallowing
  • Chest and/or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Regurgitation of food or liquids into your throat and mouth

Hiatal hernia is one of the leading causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What is the Treatment for Hiatal Hernia?

Very large hiatal hernias usually require surgery, but that’s uncommon. Normally, medications and lifestyle changes can manage your symptoms effectively. Your Illinois Gastroenterology Group specialist may recommend periodic use of antacids and/or medications that reduce or block acid production and help heal the esophagus.

Practicing a few simple habits at home can also reduce your hiatal hernia symptoms, including:

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals rather than one or two large meals
  • Eating at least 2-3 hours before lying down
  • Avoiding foods that trigger your heartburn
  • Raising the head of your bed six inches
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Schedule a visit to the Illinois Gastroenterology Group today to discover what’s causing your symptoms and what treatment will put an end to your discomfort. Use the convenient online tool to book your appointment or call the office today.