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What is a hiatus hernia?

A hiatus hernia is the protrusion of the stomach above the diaphragm. This condition may be a congenital disorder or the result of trauma. There are many different types of hernias. The most familiar type are those that occur in the abdomen, in

which part of the intestines protrude through the abdominal wall. This may occur in different areas and, depending on the location, the hernia is given a different name.

An inguinal hernia appears as a bulge in the groin and may come and go depending on the position of the person or their level of physical activity. It can occur with or without pain. In men, the protrusion may descend into the scrotum. Inguinal hernias account for 80% of all hernias and are more common in men.

Femoral hernias are similar to inguinal hernias but appear as a bulge slightly lower. They are more common in women due to the strain of pregnancy.

A ventral hernia is also called an incisional hernia because it generally occurs as a bulge in the abdomen at the site of an old surgical scar. It is caused by thinning or stretching of the scar tissue, and occurs more frequently in people who are obese or pregnant.

An umbilical hernia appears as a soft bulge at the navel (umbilicus). It is caused by a weakening of the area or an imperfect closure of the area in infants. This type of hernia is more common in women due to pregnancy, and in Chinese and black infants. Some umbilical hernias in infants disappear without treatment within the first year.

A hiatal or diaphragmatic hernia is different from abdominal hernias in that it is not visible on the outside of the body. With a hiatal hernia, the stomach bulges upward through the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen (the diaphragm). This type of hernia occurs more often in women than in men, and it is treated differently from other types of hernias.

More information on hiatus hernia

What is a hiatus hernia? - A hiatus hernia is the protrusion of the stomach above the diaphragm. This condition may be a congenital disorder or the result of trauma.
What causes hiatus hernia? - Most hernias result from a weakness in the abdominal wall. A hiatal hernia may also be caused by obesity, pregnancy, aging, or previous surgery.
What are the symptoms of hiatus hernia? - Most people are not troubled by their hiatus hernia, but if reflux of the acid contents of the stomach occurs, you get heartburn.
How is hiatus hernia diagnosed? - The diagnosis of hiatus hernia is confirmed by barium meal X-rays or by passing a tube with a camera on the end into the stomach (gastroscopy).
What's the treatment for hiatus hernia? - Treatments include for hiatus hernia avoiding reclining after meals, avoiding spicy foods, acidic foods, alcohol, and tobacco, bland meals, eating a high-fiber diet.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005