Every time a body part internally is pushed into an area where it does not belong originally, it is called a hernia. The word hiatal refers to an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscular wall that functions to separate the chest cavity from the abdomen. This means that the organs in the chest cavity and abdominal cavity are kept separated. When you put the words together, hiatal hernia is basically a condition where the stomach is pushed into the chest through the opening in the diaphragm.
Generally, there are two main types of hiatal hernias: paraesophageal hernia and sliding hernia. The commonest type of hernia is the sliding hiatal hernia where part of the stomach and junction where the esophagus joins the stomach slides up through the hole into the chest.
Hiatal Hernia Symptom #1: Heartburn
Heartburn can be described as a burning sensation in your chest, located behind your breastbone. It can range from a feeling of discomfort to pain and worsens when you lie down or bend over. Occasional heartburn is common and can be managed through lifestyle changes and taking over the counter medications. The burning sensation usually starts after eating and occurs more commonly at night.
If heartburn occurs too frequently or affects you daily routines, it can be a symptom of a more serious underlying issue that may require medical attention. If you have other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, persistent nausea or vomiting, weight loss due to difficulty eating or poor appetite, you should make an appointment with your doctor.