Stomach Hernia Treatment
A stomach hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall or muscle, allowing a small portion of the stomach to protrude. This is most common at the hiatus, the opening where the esophagus meets the stomach in the diaphragm. When a part of the stomach protrudes up through the hiatus, it is called a hiatal or stomach hernia. Danny Shouhed, M.D. is a board certified general surgeon who specializes in esophagus and stomach disorders, offering stomach hernia treatment at our clinic in Los Angeles.
Causes and Symptoms of Hiatal Hernias
The hiatus, or opening, in the diaphragm allows the esophagus to deliver food and beverages into the stomach. This opening is kept closed between swallows by sphincter muscles, but the diaphragm and sphincter can weaken from aging, pressure (pregnancy or obesity), consuming certain substances and other factors. This can allow a part of the stomach to protrude through the hiatus, causing a diaphragmatic or hiatal hernia.
Hiatal hernias come in two types: sliding and paraesophageal. Sliding hiatal hernias are most common, which allows a small portion of the stomach to protrude in and out of the chest cavity; paraesophageal hiatus hernias push part of the stomach along the side of the esophagus, which can become stuck in the chest cavity. Many people with hiatal hernias do not have any symptoms, but it can cause heartburn, acid reflux (GERD), chest pain, throat pain, difficulty swallowing, persistent cough and excessive gas.
Stomach hernia treatment is usually conservative with lifestyle changes and medications. For those who are overweight, losing weight is often the first recommendation. Other lifestyle changes include eating smaller meals, exercising, quitting smoking and cutting out certain foods/beverages. Medication treatment can help manage acid reflux and heartburn. When conservative treatments are ineffective, Dr. Shouhed may recommend surgical repair of a hiatal hernia, especially paraesophageal hernias that can have serious complications.
If you have symptoms of a stomach hernia or want to explore treatment options for a hiatal hernia, contact us at our office in Los Angeles. Our team will schedule a consultation with Dr. Shouhed to discuss your stomach hernia treatment options.