A hiatal hernia, sometimes also called a hiatus hernia, is a condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest. There is a weakness in the muscle wall that allows organs to protrude through the diaphragm and cause pain. The diaphragm is a very thin membrane of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen and helps regulate the breath. The derangement of the organs causes the membrane to collapse and feel very painful.

Symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia

The symptoms of hiatal hernia are heartburn that gets worse when a person bends over or lies down, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing or chest pain. Some people may experience difficulty twisting their torso from side to side or upper arm pain.

The exact cause is unknown, but hiatal hernias may be the result of aging, obesity or smoking. They are very common in older people. A lack of exercise that affect the strength of the abdominal muscles and back muscles can lead to weaknesses in the stomach walls that can cause a hiatal hernia.

Complications from a hiatial hernia include bleeding, iron deficiency anemia and fluid in the lungs.

Natural Care and Treatment

Pain from a hernia is mainly due to stomach acid backing up into the esophagus. The goal of natural treatments are to neutralize stomach acidity, decrease acid production, or strengthen the opening from the esophagus to the stomach.

Other natural tips for managing the condition include:

  • Eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than fewer large meals.
  • Have your dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before your bedtime.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption or avoid it completely.
  • Do not smoke cigarettes and avoid other tobacco products.
  • Elevate the head of your bed 4 to 6 inches (about 15 centimeters) to prevent symptoms like heartburn and acidity. You can also use an acid reflux wedge pillow to reduce discomfort.
  • Do not lie down or bend right after having a meal.
  • After eating, take a short walk around your dining room or kitchen.
  • Avoid straining during bowel movements.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing around your torso.

Sometimes surgery is required to correct a hernia if the above lifestyle changes are not effective.

Most symptoms that are associated with a hiatal hernia are immediately alleviated with treatment. Doing exercises to strengthen the back and stomach muscles as well as losing weight and eating healthy go a long way towards lessening the discomfort of a hiatal hernia.

For more information about how to deal with environmental illness, or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, Toronto weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewoodhealth.ca. You can also call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. Send an email to info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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