Hiatus Hernia Treatment
Lifestyle changes for a hiatal hernia include diet modification, not smoking, avoiding alcohol, and taking measures to reduce acid reflux during the day and acid reflux at night.
Medications include taking antacids, H2 Antagonists, and Proton Pump Inhibitors.
During hiatal hernia repair surgery, the stomach and lower esophagus are placed back into the abdominal cavity, and the hiatus (the opening in the diaphram where the esophagus and stomach join) is tightened.
The upper part of the stomach (fundus) may be wrapped around the esophagus (fundoplication) to reduce acid reflux.
Alternative Methods of Hiatal Hernia Treatment
Since a hiatal hernia is primarily a mechanical problem, the easiest and best way to correct it is mechanically. Medical doctors have attempted surgery to correct this disorder, but the results tend to be poor. Cutting into this area can further weaken it so that the hernia will return in short order. A better method is to manipulate the stomach and bring down the hernia by hand. Unfortunately, you can't do this to yourself. You will need to find a good chiropractor, applied kinesiologist or massage therapist who understands this problems and knows how to correct it.
Hiatal Hernia Lifestyle changes and Diet
A variety of lifestyle changes can help ease the gastroesophageal reflux that may accompany a hiatal hernia. Some or all of the following measures may help:
Eat small meals. Large meals can distend your stomach, pushing it into your chest.
Avoid problem foods and alcohol. Try to avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, chocolate, onions, spicy foods, spearmint and peppermint - all of which increase production of stomach acid and relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Even decaffeinated coffee can be irritating to an inflamed esophageal lining. Also try to limit citrus fruits and tomato-based foods. They're acidic and can irritate an inflamed esophagus.
Make sure that you have enough good vitamins in your diet. This will help your body to relieve stress.
Limit fatty foods. Fatty foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter and slow stomach emptying, which increases the amount of time that acid can back up into your esophagus.
Sit up after you eat. Wait at least three hours before going to bed or taking a nap. By then, most of the food in your stomach will have emptied into your small intestine, so it can't flow back into your esophagus. Eating a bedtime snack stimulates acid formation and further aggravates acid reflux.
Don't exercise immediately after eating. Try to wait at least two to three hours before you engage in any strenuous activity. Low-key exercise, such as walking, is fine.
Lose weight. If you're overweight, slimming down helps reduce the pressure on your stomach. This may well be the most important thing you can do to relieve your symptoms.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases acid reflux and dries your saliva. Saliva helps protect your esophagus from stomach acid.
Avoid certain medications, if possible. Medications to avoid include calcium channel blockers, such as diltiazem; the antibiotic tetracycline; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium; quinidine; theophylline; sedatives and tranquilizers; and alendronate. If you take any of these medications and suffer from heartburn, talk to your doctor. You may be able to take other drugs instead.
Elevate the head of your bed. If you elevate the head of your bed 6 to 9 inches, gravity will help prevent stomach acid from moving up into your esophagus as you sleep. Using a foam wedge to raise your mattress also may help. Don't try to use pillows, which tend to increase pressure on your abdomen.
Avoid tightfitting clothes. They put pressure on your stomach.
Take time to relax. When you're under stress, digestion slows, which makes GERD symptoms worse. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga may help reduce acid reflux.
Further reading on Hiatal Hernia
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