A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach moves to the thoracic area. There is an opening specifically located on the diaphragm, which is the muscle involved in the separation of the chest from the abdomen, and it is used when we breathe normally.
What does it happen when we suffer from a hiatal hernia? As it is widely known, food goes down through the oesophagus (the muscular tube located in the centre of the chest) to the stomach. In a normal situation, the muscular wall that separates the chest from the abdomen would be closed, preventing gastric juice and food move up to the oesophagus. However, when this muscle does not work properly or it is weakened, it favours the well-known gastro-oesophageal reflux: the content on the stomach moves up to the oesophagus and produces the famous hiatal hernia.
Normally, old age is one of the main causes for suffering from a hiatal hernia. Most of the patients that have all the common symptoms are usually over 50 years. However, there are many people of different ages, and in the top physical condition that suffer from this disorder.
Keep in mind that there are other factors that favour the development of gastro-oesophageal reflux. These include alcohol intake, obesity, saturated fats, smoking, constipation, etc. All of them usually favour an increase in acidity and a relaxation of the sphincter.
Pregnancy is another important condition in which gastric discomfort usually occurs. The baby begins to press the abdominal wall and space in the stomach decreases to facilitate the disposal of reflux.
In our medical centre, we look after many patients who, like you, suffer the presence of a hiatal hernia and its consequences daily. Should you need more information, do not hesitate to contact us.
Dr. Juan Rocamora
Surgeon specialist in General and Digestive
Hospital Vithas Medimar Internacional