There are two types of hiatal hernias. The first is a ‘sliding’ hiatal hernia. This is the most common type. It occurs when the lower part of the esophagus and the top part of the stomach slide up and protrude from the abdomen, through the hiatus in the diaphragm muscle (which is why this is also know as a hiatus hernia), into the chest cavity.
The second type is a ‘para-esophageal’ hiatal hernia. This is a less common but more serious hernia which involves part of the stomach pushing up through the diaphragm next to the esophagus. The risk with this type of hernia is that blood flow to part of the stomach can be restricted, meaning people with this type are more likely to be recommended for hiatal hernia surgery.
Hiatal hernias can happen naturally if you are born with a large hiatus (the hole in the diaphragm). They can also be caused by injury or accident which involves damage to the abdominal and chest area. In some cases it can be caused by too much pressure resulting from pregnancy or obesity. Hiatal hernias are also commonly found in 5-15% of those that have GERD. Some individuals may not even know they have a problem while others may suffer painful symptoms. But this does not necessarily mean you need to rush to the emergency room for surgery. The most common symptoms are those caused by reflux of stomach acid and stomach contents. These includes heartburn, chest pain, sore throats and more.
Risks Associated With Surgery
The decision to have hiatal hernia surgery should not be taken lightly. In fact surgery is not recommended for everyone. Surgery is an invasive procedure that requires general anesthesia. Obviously there are risks and complications associated with the anesthesia, which in rare cases can be fatal.
Other risks and complications from hiatal hernia surgery can also include blood clots, pneumonia, breathing problems, excessive bleeding and others. Ongoing complications after surgery can include difficulty swallowing and gas bloating. Gas bloating is found in about 40% of surgery patients and while it may only last for a few months for some, others may have ongoing problems. Risks of human error are always possible, as with any operation, and could result in damage to other organs, blood vessels and tissue.
Alternatives To Hiatal Hernia Surgery
Clearly for most, it would be safer to find a good alternative to dangerous and risky surgery. Some turn to doctor prescribed medications and drugs to treat their symptoms. This can be expensive and many of these medications do not even treat the root cause of the hernia – they just mask the symptoms. These drugs also carry a large number of serious side effects.
It is much safer to institute a natural treatment plan for curing and preventing symptoms compared to having hiatal hernia surgery. The good news is that there are a wide variety of natural remedies and home based cures that can be used to successfully treat hiatal hernias. These include herbs, foods and other natural products.