Having any surgical procedure can be stressful and there is always a period of recovery that one must go through afterwards. However, when the surgery involves area of the stomach, the recovery process could be a little more in depth. After all, not all surgeries will have an effect on the way you eat for weeks or months at a time. There are several things you should know about in regards to your recovery after a Hiatal hernia repair surgery.
As mentioned earlier, you are going to be sent home with a number of diet limitations. This does not mean restrictions as there is a major difference. It is not that you will have to watch what you eat, it is that you will have to watch the way you eat it. For example, you will be instructed to take small bites and chew each one thoroughly before swallowing. The idea here is to make sure your food is almost fully liquid before swallowing it. Some people prefer to eat soup and other soft foods for a few days. Remember that bread and meat will be the hardest to swallow so maybe stay away from them for at least a week or so. Also, it cannot be stressed enough that spicy foods and foods that are known to produce gas such as beans should be avoided for quite awhile. Do not drink carbonated drinks until your doctor has instructed you that it is alright to do so.
This cannot be stressed enough. More than likely you will be sent home with pain medications. Do not be afraid to use these as necessary. If you find that one of your medications is making you feel sick to your stomach, which can easily happen with pain meds, report this to your doctor and see about an alternate drug. If you doctor permits it you may be able to take a nice warm shower in order to relax you and make you feel better. Keep in mind that this may not be allowed for several days after surgery. You may expect to feel a bit of discomfort for a good 3 to 6 months following your surgery but do not worry as the severity and frequency will minimize with time.
Take Care of Your Lungs
After a surgical procedure one of the things that you must consider is the health and function of your lungs. Making sure you do breathing exercises during your recovery time will help prevent the possibility of pneumonia or lung congestion. In fact, lung disorders and illnesses tend to me the most common after effects of surgeries of all types so do not slack where this is concerned. Chances are you’ve been given a spirometer, use it a minimum of 4 times per day in the beginning. If you do notice any lung congestion, a tight and painful cough or spike a fever, contact your doctor right away.
Do Not Worry About Appetite
You may not feel like eating much of anything directly following this surgical procedure and that is fine for a couple of days. However, if after 48 hours you still have not developed an appetite contact your doctor as you need to eat in order for your body to get the sustenance it needs for the healing process. If you cannot eat solid foods then try drinking meal replacement shakes as these provide nutrition and act more like a beverage, making it easier for people to tolerate.
The most important consideration after a surgery is always going to be infection. If you notice redness, swelling or heat coming from the site then you should seek medical attention. Also a fever is never a good sign after any sort of surgical procedure. These are the things your doctor will most likely instruct you to watch for. In most cases the healing process goes quite smoothly but be aware of the risks and pat attention to the signals your body is sending you.
A hernia occurs any time there is an internal part of the body pushing or protruding into an area it does not belong. The opening in the diaphragm is called the hiatus and is the wall of muscle which separates the abdomen from the cavity of the chest. Under typical circumstances the esophagus, otherwise known as the “food pipe” goes in through the hiatus and then attaches to the stomach. When there is a Hiatal hernia what is happening is that the stomach is protruding into the chest cavity through the hiatus, hence the name Hiatal hernia. There are a couple of varieties of Hiatal hernias, the paraesophageal which is located just near the esophagus and then there is the sliding Hiatal hernia both the stomach and a small section of the esophagus protrude into the stomach through the hiatus. The latter being the most common type of Hiatal hernia.
Some Possible Causes
The truth of the matter is no one truly knows exactly what causes a Hiatal hernia to occur. However, we have been able to pin point some definite risk factors. For one thing, some people are just born with a larger Hiatal opening than others, leading to problems down the road. Other causes can be from the type of pressure that comes with pregnancy or even from chronic constipation in which a significant amount of straining occurs. We also know that women are much more likely to develop Hiatal hernias than men. In addition, obesity seems to play a large role in the development of Hiatal hernias.
Less Common Hiatal Hernia- More Dangerous
The sliding hiatal hernia is the most common and the least likely to cause any underlying problems. However, it is important to mention that the paraesophageal hernia which is much less common carries a much higher risk of complications. This type of Hiatal hernia can position itself in such a way as to strangulate or cut the blood flow off. When this occurs surgery is almost always imminent. The surgical procedure done is not a very complicated one and the recovery time is usually from about six weeks to two months, depending on the patient.
Can Hiatal Hernias Go Undetected?
They absolutely can go undetected, especially in people who are not having severe symptoms. This is why many doctors order MRIs in order to see what is happening behind the scenes in people who are suffering from acid reflux disease or GERD. However, there will usually come a point when the pain associated with a Hiatal hernia will prompt the patient to seek medical attention. The time it takes for this to happen can vary from person to person.
Are There Medications to Treat Hiatal Hernias?
There are medications to treat excess stomach acid which could certainly worsen a Hiatal hernia but in terms of actually healing one, this normally must be done through surgery. Sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs and antacids will be given to those suffering from minor Hiatal hernias just to control the swelling and pain, as well as stop the excess acid from aggravating the situation worse.
If you have been experiencing a lot of pain, having frequent bouts of heartburn and trouble when eating and digesting food, you may want to see about the possibility of a Hiatal hernia. Another very important red flag to look out for is spitting up blood. If a person vomits blood this is cause for immediate medical attention.
There are several conditions which can cause a Hiatal Hernia. In fact any medical condition that causes an excess amount of stomach acid to flow into the stomach such as Acid Reflux Disease or GERD can result in the occurrence of a Hiatal Hernia. When a Hiatal Hernia occurs, essentially what is happening is that the stomach is literally protruding through a hole that has been created by the widening of the natural opening located in your diaphragm. The diaphragm is basically the tissue and muscle layer that is located just between your stomach and your chest.
Can a Hiatal Hernia Be Repaired?
A Hiatal Hernia can be repaired through a surgical procedure called fundoplication. This surgery works by repairing the Hiatal Hernia through stitching the hole that is present. This will be the very first step and once this has been done, the surgeon will then work to tighten the entrance to your diaphragm in order to prevent your stomach from being able to protrude again. The next step is typically to utilize stitches in order to wrap the upper portion of your stomach around the tip of your esophagus. This portion of the surgery will help to ensure that stomach acid and food are kept from coming back up. This surgery typically takes a couple of hours and is almost always performed under general anesthesia. Speak to your health care provider about the risks of anesthesia.
Do All Hiatal Hernias Require Surgical Repair?
The good news is that most of the time Hiatal Hernias do not require extensive treatment such as surgery. The only time surgery becomes an option is if there are other complications associated with the Hiatal Hernia such as inflammation of the esophagus, or GERD. In some cases the hernia may pose a risk of causing strangulation and prevent the blood flow. In situations such as these, surgery will be suggested. However, there are some people who live for a very long time with Hiatal Hernias without ever experiencing any of these complications. Each case is treated differently so there is no reason to believe surgery is imminent unless it is advised by a physician.
How Long Is the Recovery Process After Repair Surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there is going to be a period of recovery. With this type of surgery that period is typically around 6 weeks to two months. During recovery, physical activity should be kept to a minimum and there is a high probability your doctor will have you on a very strict diet regimen. More than likely you will be on a series of medications including but not limited to acid reducers and antibiotics. Each person heals differently. You may find that you are feeling great after only a few weeks, while others may take several months to get back into the swing of things. Age and overall health before surgery will also play a role in how long the recovery process is.
A Hiatal Hernia is a fairly harmless thing to have in the grand scheme of things. If you have recently been diagnosed with one, do not be nervous as it is quite common and doctors deal with them all of time. While this condition can be rather painful, it is not life threatening in most cases. The biggest concern would be in a patient with a immunological problem or in an extremely elderly patient with a compromised immune system. Other than that Hiatal Hernias are fairly easy to treat and repair.
If you have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, you know that living with hiatal hernia pain can be quite a trial. Normal everyday activities can cause severe discomfort and oftentimes you act before you think. For example, hiatal pain when bending over is about as bad as it gets because you are putting increased pressure on the area. A few simple common sense precautions can provide hiatal hernia pain relief in addition to the medications you have probably been prescribed by your doctor.
Never Assume Anything
Before discussing various ways to learn to live with hiatal hernia pain, it should be mentioned that some hiatal hernias need medical or surgical intervention. Just because your brother or neighbor learned to live with the pain of a hiatal hernia doesn’t mean that you should try to do so. If your doctor tells you that you need surgery, this means that the stomach has worked its way up into the esophagus far enough that surgery is the only way to repair it. Never assume that what works for others can work for you, especially against medical advice.
Finding Hiatal Hernia Pain Relief
As a rule of thumb, if something causes increased pain, don’t do it! Some people find that hiatal hernia pain on right side prevents them from sleeping on that side so they learn to sleep on their back or left side. Other people find that carrying objects in their left arm increases hiatal hernia pain on left side so they learn to carry with their right arm, leaving their left hand free. It is a matter of making adjustments in the way that you live your day to day life but once these adjustments become habit it is easier living with hiatal hernia pain.
Reducing Hiatal Hernia Pain after Eating
Since a hiatal hernia is a protrusion of the stomach up through the esophagus it is only common sense to eat smaller meals. In fact, eat tiny portions several times throughout the day instead of sitting down to a huge meal that will put undue pressure on your already tender midsection. Hiatal hernia pain after eating can also be reduced if you wear loose fitting clothing and stand up a bit immediately after eating. Sitting down pushes the stomach up against the esophagus which just tends to exacerbate the pain.
Caution When Experiencing Hiatal Hernia Pain under Ribs
Even if you have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, you should use caution when experiencing what you assume is hiatal hernia pain under ribs. This could very well be hiatal hernia pain but then again it could be the sign of a heart attack. Tens of thousands of people suffer heart attacks each year because they fail to recognize the warning signs. Although hiatal hernias can cause pain under the ribs and in the back, it is best not to take a chance. If accompanied by unusual nausea or if you don’t usually experience hiatal hernia pain under ribs, contact your doctor immediately.
Besides the fact that different people experience hiatal hernia pain relief in different ways, some people are more tolerant of pain than others. Make no mistake about it; hiatal hernias can be extremely painful. If you cannot find relief from the medications your doctor prescribes along with natural remedies, it is probably time for another consultation. Your condition may have deteriorated and it may become necessary for surgical repair. By learning how your body reacts to treatment you will be better able to recognize any changes as they occur. The best hiatal hernia pain relief is to familiarize yourself with your pain and to listen to what your body is telling you.
Since one of the most common symptoms of a hiatal hernia is heartburn, many people often neglect treatment in the beginning because they just attribute it to acid indigestion. As time goes on and the symptoms persist and become much more intense, a diagnosis is usually in order. If the diagnosis is ‘hiatal hernia’ there are different ways of treating the condition usually based on the how far advanced the hernia is. Sometimes the treatment can be as simple as lifestyle changes with or without medications and other times treatment will require hiatal hernia surgery.
Why Is Hiatal Hernia Surgery Necessary?
A hiatal hernia is actually referring to a condition that is quite common in those people suffering from GERD. This is where the connection between the esophagus and the stomach (gastroesophageal junction) becomes weakened from chronic acid reflux. Instead of being located below the diaphragm and above the stomach, the junction is sometimes pushed up above the diaphragm and the stomach also begins to twist up into the esophagus if left untreated for long periods. This can be extremely dangerous, so to prevent this happening, surgery is required to repair the junction and stitch it back where it belongs.
Laparoscopic Hiatal Hernia Surgery
This type of surgery is often referred to as Nissen Fundoplication hiatal hernia surgery and it can be performed outpatient, however some doctors do admit patients under certain conditions. Usually the patient is under general anesthesia when the surgery takes place. Small incisions are made in the abdomen, approximately 1 cm, through which instruments and the fiberoptic laparoscope are inserted. The entire operation is conducted with these tiny instruments. At the end, the incisions are sutured and the patient is brought into recovery until the roused from sedation.
Laparoscopic Hiatal Hernia Surgery Recovery
Unlike hiatal hernia surgery of days gone by, the laparoscopic hiatal hernia surgery recovery time is usually significantly reduced because the incisions are so small. The amount of time a patient needs to spend in the hospital is usually based on the extent of the damage which had been repaired and of course, the patient’s natural ability to heal. Some patients just heal faster than others! However, with that being said, some doctors will keep you in the hospital a few days up to a week or a week and a half.
Hiatal Hernia Surgery Complications
As with any surgery, there is always the risk of complications, but usually hiatal hernia surgery complications will gradually subside. In some cases they may become permanent and in other cases the complications may require additional surgeries to correct the situation. For example, painful swallowing, burping and vomiting are the most common complications and also those that will eventually resolve themselves as the patient heals. However, certain complications such as a pneumothorax (air around the lungs), internal organ damage or infections bleeding may require additional surgeries and/or medications to correct the problem.
Hiatal Hernia Surgery Success Rate
Although it is difficult to put a number on the hiatal hernia surgery success rate as all people are different and all cases can be more or less severe, the success rate for this surgery which is minimally invasive is usually between 90% and 95%. In those rare cases when the patient experiences chronic complications, the actual success rate is reduced because the complications interfere with the patient’s ultimate recovery. This is something you would want to discuss with your surgeon because the prognosis for full recovery is based on the extent of damage being repaired.
In fact, if you have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia that requires surgery your doctor will most likely provide you with literature that you can use to familiarize yourself with both the illness and the surgery. Since this condition is quite often associated with GERD, early detection of gastroesophageal reflux disease and treatments with proton pump inhibitors may just be the prevention needed to avoid a hiatal hernia. In any case, if you find that you are experiencing acid reflux more than twice a week, it is truly time to see your doctor.
Over half of everyone will develop a hiatal hernia by the time they reach age sixty. Most of the time they are nothing to worry about and cause very few problems, however there are some cases in which a person will experience severe symptoms and have need for aggressive treatment. In addition, there are some symptoms that are associated with hiatal hernias which could actually be a sign of something much more serious. The most common symptoms of hiatal hernia are heartburn, acid regurgitation, problems swallowing, chest pain near the sternum, bloating after meals and shortness of breath.
What Is a Hiatal Hernia?
As mentioned earlier, most people who have hiatal hernias will not even know. The people who are aware that they have one usually find this information after visiting a doctor for something such as chronic heartburn. A hiatal hernia is actually an abnormality in the anatomical structure of the stomach, causing a portion to protrude all the way through the diaphragm and then up through the chest. In a normal situation the food tube (esophagus) comes down through the chest cavity, crosses through the diaphragm and then enters into the stomach through a small hole known as the esophageal hiatus. In the area directly under the diaphragm the stomach and esophagus join. In people who have a hiatal hernia the mouth of the esophageal hiatus is wider than usual. As a result a part of the stomach passes or slips straight through the hiatus and the up into the chest.
Hiatal Hernia Symptoms and Treatment
Most of the time hiatal hernia symptoms are treated individually. For example, heartburn is typically treated with antacids. Other hiatal hernia symptoms are also treated accordingly. There are some natural remedies for hiatal hernia symptoms and diet plays a major role as well. In some severe cases surgery is required but this is quite rare. Most doctors recommend for hiatal hernia symptoms and treatment diet that people avoid spicy foods and eating large meals. An individual with a hiatal hernia is much better off eating several small meals rather than one large one.
When Hiatal Hernia Symptoms Do Not Improve With Treatment
If hiatal hernia symptoms such as heartburn do not seem to get better with the standard treatment of antacids, or continues to worsen, then medical attention could be necessary. In addition, any pain that is radiating up into the chest and does not go away with hiatal hernia treatment should also be cause for alarm. Many times people who are suffering from heart attacks mistake the warning signs for other conditions such as hiatal hernias, GERD or chronic heartburn. Additionally, any person who begins vomiting, has difficulty with bowel movements or starts to pass excessive gas, should be seen by a doctor. This could be an indication of a medical emergency such as a strangulated or obstructed hernia. Hiatal hernia symptoms women do not differ from those found in men.
Hiatal hernia symptoms and treatment complications are fairly rare. This condition is usually easy to treat and typically never turns into anything serious, other than an annoyance. However, if you have reason to believe that you may have a hiatal hernia then you should make an appointment to see your doctor. While hiatal hernia symptoms are usually not a problem, it is always better to err on the side of caution where your health is concerned. Many people have hiatal hernias for many years before the onset of symptoms occur. This is all the more reason to have this condition checked if you are not certain.
These report will be interesting for those who is interested in herb treatments for heartburn and acid reflux.
This summer I discovered a very tasty tea and also a way to naturally relief heartburn. This tea is brewed from marigold flowers.
I got an advice about this tea from a friend and it really made a difference for me.
There are multiple benefits of it:
1) It has no caffeine
2) It has anti-inflammatory, anti-septic properties
3) It has no known side effects
Before trying it I looked at some sources on the net to see if it is true.
Calendula article in wikipedia confirms that calendula has anti-viral, anti-genotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Also I found following article on google scholar http://www.balestramech.com/usa/pdf/DolceDigestivoTech.pdf. This article describes a herb preparation for GI problems treatment and marigold (calendula) is part of it. This article doesn’t look like marketing material but actually has some scientific background. You will also find lots of other herbs which help in treating heartburn and acid reflux.
Also if you’re really into science use google scholar http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=2000&q=calendula+stomach+inflammation to get scientific proof on calendula properties.
Make sure that you’re getting tea components from professional. I got calendula (marigold) flowers from my friend who is very good in finding herbs.
It looks like lots of people confuse what is Hiatus and what is Hiatal Hernia. Hiatus is translated from Latin as hole and in medicine it means a hole in diaphragm. When part of stomach moves through this hole it is called Hiatal Hernia (because it moves through Hiatus).
You can find much more information about Hiatus Hernia (oops… Hiatal Hernia!) at http://www.manageyourheartburn.com/hiatal-hernia-relief.php