shortness of breath

December 21, 2011

Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia; Hiatal Hernia Symptoms and Treatment Options

Whenever an internal body part gets displaced from its normal position and moves into a foreign area — that is, somewhere it does not belong — a hernia occurs. A hiatal hernia describes a condition in the stomach and part of the esophagus pushes through the hiatus, a small opening in the diaphragm.

The diaphragm is a dome-shaped wall of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The esophagus, also known as the food pipe, normally passes through the hiatus and connects to the stomach. Because the stomach can sometimes bulge through this opening, there exists the potential for a hiatal hernia.

Diaphragm Hiatal Hernia

Small hiatal hernias are typically painless, and they cause no major health problems. In fact, many people do not realize they have a hiatal hernia, until their doctor discovers the during a medical examination for something else.

Larger hiatal hernias are usually uncomfortable and problematic. They allow partially-digested food and stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, creating acid reflux and heartburn. The heartburn caused by hiatal hernias can become severe enough to cause upper abdominal pain or chest pain, which is often mistaken for heart attack pain. A proper medical diagnosis is extremely important.

What Causes Hiatal Hernia?

Hiatal hernias result from weak muscle tissue that allows the stomach to bulge through the diaphragm and into the chest. The exact cause is uncertain. Increased and prolonged abdominal pressure — caused by obesity or overweight, pregnancy, coughing, vomiting, stressful bowel movements, or heavy lifting — may contribute to the development of hernias.

Injuries to the area can also cause hiatal hernia. And some people are simply born with a large hiatal opening. Women are more likely than men to experience hiatal hernias, and the condition is more common in overweight individuals and people who have seen at least 50 years of age.

Two Types Of Hiatal Hernia

While medical experts cannot say what causes hiatal hernia, they have identified two main types: sliding hernia and para-esophageal hernia. The first type occurs in the chest, and the latter comes near the esophagus.

A sliding hernia is the more common type of hiatal hernia. It occurs when the stomach, along with part of the esophagus that joins the stomach, pushes into the chest cavity through the hiatus. The condition may or may not cause symptoms.

Sliding Hiatal Hernia

Para-esophageal hiatal hernia is far less common, but it is much more serious. While the stomach and esophagus remain in their normal positions, part of the stomach bulges through the hiatus and lands next to the esophagus. Many people with para-esophageal hernia never experience symptoms. But the condition is dangerous, because it may “strangle” the stomach and cut off the blood supply.

Para-esophageal Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

Small hiatal hernias typically produce no obvious signs or symptoms. Generally the sliding hernia type, these hernias are not associated with any significant health problems. On the other hand, large hernias are likely to produce noticeable symptoms. These include heartburn, belching, swallowing difficulties, and fatigue. The larger the hernia, the more noteworthy and problematic the symptoms become.

When large sliding hiatal hernias do produce symptoms, they are usually related to gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. The connection stems from the fact that hernia formation interferes with the lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier muscle that prevents stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus.

People who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease are much more likely to have hiatal hernias than those who are unaffected by GERD. This suggests that hiatal hernias somehow contribute to GERD. Nevertheless, GERD can occur without a hiatal hernia, so it is evident that other factors also contribute to the disease.

Lower Esophageal Sphincter

Hiatal Hernia And GERD

Various mechanisms in the body work to prevent acid reflux, a term for the backwards flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. One mechanism involves the lower esophageal sphincter, the band of muscle where the esophagus meets the stomach.

Most of the time, this muscle remains contracted to prevent acid reflux and regurgitation. It relaxes only to allow food to move from the mouth, through the esophagus, and into the stomach. The esophageal sphincter muscle is attached to the diaphragm at the hiatal opening. The diaphragm muscle, which wraps around the sphincter, increases the pressure to further prevent reflux.

A valve-like tissue just below the sphincter is another mechanism to prevent acid reflux. Since there is only a slight connection between the esophagus and stomach, a sharp angle exists between the two. Thin tissue, formed from the walls of the stomach and esophagus, forms a valve that closes the esophageal opening when pressure occurs in the stomach.

Two important changes take place when a hiatal hernia exists. While the lower esophageal sphincter slides up toward the chest, the diaphragm remains in position. Without the muscle overlap and necessary pressure, acid reflux is likely to occur. With the stomach and part of the esophagus pulled into the chest, the sharp angle that normally exists between the two becomes less sharp. As a result, the valve-like effect is weakened. This also promotes acid reflux.

Common GERD Symptoms

Acid reflux, the regurgitation of food or liquid, is a major symptom of hiatal hernia in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Some may also experience swallowing problems, a sore throat, hoarseness, a dry cough, and a lumpy sensation in the throat.

Heartburn is another common symptom of hiatal hernia and GERD. The burning sensation characteristic of heartburn sometimes spreads from the chest to the throat. It usually leaves an unpleasant, sour taste in the mouth.

Upper abdominal pain and chest pain are serious GERD symptoms. Because many people confuse it with heart attack pain, it is important to undergo tests and procedures to accurately diagnose the condition.

Diagnosing Hiatal Hernia

More often than not, hiatal hernias are discovered during a test to determine the cause of heartburn, chest pain, or upper abdominal pain. Doctors may x-ray the upper digestive tract using a chalky barium liquid. Or they may use an endoscope, or flexible tube with a light and video camera, to explore inside the digestive tract.

On both an x-ray and endoscopy, a hiatal hernia appears as a “sac” between the stomach and esophagus. Often, the sac is visible only during swallows. Additional medical tests, such as ambulatory acid probes and esophageal motility tests, are used to diagnose GERD.

Hiatal Hernia Treatment

Hiatal hernias without symptoms need no treatment. However, acid reflux and persistent heartburn will probably require medical intervention through medications or surgery.

Acid reflux and heartburn symptoms have several treatment options. Over-the-counter antacids neutralize stomach acid and provide heartburn relief. Special medications called H-2-receptor blockers reduce acid production, and proton pump inhibitors block it. They also heal damaged tissue in the esophagus. If over-the-counter products are ineffective, doctors can prescribe stronger versions.

Medications will control most hiatal hernia symptoms, but sometimes a hernia requires surgery. Medical procedures are usually reserved for emergency situations, including those where prescription drugs offer no symptom relief. Hiatal hernia repairs are often combined with surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

When Is Surgery Necessary?

Constriction or strangulation can cut off the blood supply. If a hiatal hernia is in danger of this happening, surgery may be needed to reduce the hernia. This is more likely to occur with para-esophageal hernias than with sliding hernias.

Hiatal hernia operations involve pulling the stomach back into the abdomen and making the diaphragm opening smaller. Surgeons usually remove the hernia sac and reconstruct the lower esophageal sphincter. This may involve an incision in the abdomen or chest wall.

Many surgeons use laparoscopic surgery to view internal organs from inside the body. This less invasive procedure requires smaller incisions, through which the laparoscope and surgical instruments are inserted. Laparoscopy enables a faster recovery, with less pain, scarring, and risk of infection.

GERD surgery, often combined with hiatal hernia repair, reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter. Surgeons may construct a barrier to prevent the backup of stomach acid. Some surgeons perform surgery to damage the nerves and create scar tissue in the esophagus. While this procedure strengthens muscles and reduces pain, it is usually performed when other surgeries are not an option.

Recovery usually takes two to three weeks, although patients must avoid hard work and heavy lifting for several months after surgery. Despite a procedure’s success, there is no guarantee that a hiatal hernia will not return in the future.

Other Popular Treatments

Lifestyle changes, home remedies, and alternative therapies are other ways to treat symptoms. Hiatal hernia sufferers can alleviate some of their problems by eating smaller meals, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and losing excess pounds. Avoiding trigger foods and elevating the head during sleep are two more practical solutions.

Lifestyle changes

Some alternative medicine practitioners claim to cure hiatal hernia by manipulating the stomach and pushing it back into its normal position. However, no medical evidence exists to support their claim.

Patients may turn to acupuncture, relaxation therapies, and herbal remedies to treat GERD symptoms. Studies suggest that acupuncture can help people with persistent heartburn, and relaxation techniques are known to eliminate stress and ease symptoms. Chamomile, licorice, slippery elm, and other herbal remedies are touted as effective dietary supplements.

A Final Word On Hiatal Hernia

When is it time to call the doctor for hiatal hernia problems? Severe abdominal pain or chest pain are two reasons to seek medical attention. Nausea, vomiting, an inability to pass gas, and difficulty with bowel movements are additional indicators. They are signs of possible strangulation or obstruction — an emergency situation that requires immediate medical attention.

For less serious hiatal hernia problems, over-the-counter or prescription medications can usually control the symptoms. No alternative therapy can cure hiatal hernia, and none can reverse the damage already caused to the esophagus. But some people may benefit from holistic treatments that are combined with conventional medicine. To ensure safety and prevent further medical problems, patients should talk to their doctors about complementary therapies before seeking alternative solutions. For more information on treatment for hiatal hernia symptoms be sure to visit Reflux Remedy today.

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March 7, 2011

Signs of Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernias occur when a part of the stomach organ relocates to another area. The new area may be within the chest or beside the esophagus. This is allowed to happen when a weak diaphragm opens wider than normal and permits the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter to move upward. There are two kinds of hiatal hernias: sliding and rolling. These types are differentiated based on the location of the stomach.

Sliding Hiatal Hernia
It is essential that you become aware of the signs of a hiatal hernia. Being able to classify the symptoms will enable you to detect this condition early. Signs of a hiatal hernia often appear to be the same symptoms of gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD). These symptoms may include burning in the throat or chest, regurgitation, chest pain, sore throat and hoarseness. Pain in the chest and stomach areas are very common ailments associated with a hiatal hernia.

Chest Pain

Chest pain is a major sign of a hiatal hernia. The chest pain experienced can range in level of intensity, but is usually accompanied by heartburn, another sign. This pain is commonly located behind the breastbone but can affect the lower and upper sections of the torso. Chest pain can be confused as a symptom of a heart attack or other cardiac condition. If you encounter numbness in the arms along with shortness of breath, you may be at risk of a heart attack.


Hearburn is a key sign of a hiatal hernia. Heartburn is caused when stomach acid backs up to the esophagus causing irritation and pain. There is increased vulnerability with a hiatal hernia because this condition pushes the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter into the chest and allows acidic fluid to flow backwards through the esophagus. Heartburn pain can be severe and is worsened by lying down. Chest pain, a burning sensation, bitter taste, chronic coughing and difficulty swallowing are just some of the signals of heartburn.

Hiatal Hernia Signs and GERD

The signs of a hiatal hernia strongly resemble the signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease. The signs of these two conditions can sometimes confuse you. Hiatal hernias can contribute to GERD but do not have to be present for GERD to develop. GERD is caused by gradual or sudden changes to the lower espohageal sphincter that fails to stop acid from refluxing into the esophagus.

What You Can Do

If you are experiencing any of these signs, you probably are suffering from a hiatal hernia. To reverse the effects of a hiatal hernia there are a number of treatment options that require lifestyle changes. By eating smaller meals, refraining from eating right before bed and not smoking or drinking a lot of alcohol, you reduce the presence of symptoms. You can also change your diet by limiting fatty foods and foods that are spicy and difficult to digest.


If you seek more information on the causes, signs, symptoms or treatments of a hiatal hernia, visit now. There you can get all of your questions answered and move forward with your life.

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November 2, 2010

Gastritis Dizziness

The main symptoms of gastritis are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, and vertigo or dizziness. There are many things that can trigger gastritis and dizziness, but inflammation is the primary predator here.

Here are some of the things that can trigger dizziness from gastritis:

  • Eating too much
  • Eating quickly
  • Eating animal fats
  • Eating foods high in refined sugar
  • Periods of high ongoing stress.
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Extreme exercise right after eating
  • Smoking tobacco
  • drinking alcohol
  • Helicobacter pylori infections in the gut
  • Side effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin or ibuprofen

If you have been experiencing the symptoms of gastritis inflammation, like dizziness, after eating, then you need to see a health practitioner as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that the least helpful thing you can do to eliminate dizziness triggered from gastritis is to start taking antacids. Antacids have been proven many years ago to be nothing but a gimmick, and a harmful gimmick at that.

Don?t fall for the direct-to-consumer advertising you see on television or hear on the radio?do your due diligence and discover the truth yourself. In fact did you know direct-to-consumer commercials are illegal in every country accept the US and New Zeeland?? These commercials are geared to sell you on drugs as a solution to everything under the moon.

Truth is drugs aren?t a solution for anything. Drugs can be temporarily helpful only to buy you and the doctor time, while vigilantly seeking to uproot the cause of your dizziness and gastritis inflammation.

Any prolonged use of drugs is misuse and in many cases outright abuse.

Dizziness is one of the most serious side effects you can have from an illness or a drug. Dizziness is a sign you are in danger of losing complete control and may be a symptom of heart disease, ear infection or gastric inflammation (Gastritis).

If you are experiencing inflammation you are at going through a degenerative process that must be stopped before it can be reversed.

Here are some of the symptoms, or signs, of gastritis:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hiccups
  • Belching or gas
  • Burning sensation in the stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme weakness
  • Shortness of breath

Simply cutting back on dangerous habits like smoking tobacco, drinking hard alcohol and over eating often help, if necessary you may need to eliminate all junk food, cut out all refined salts and sugars and take up a vegan diet for a month or more.

The idea is to help you restore digestive balance so that your immune system can heal whatever is causing the gastritis inflammation and dizziness in the first place.

If you aren?t ready to make a commitment to ridding your lifestyle of dangerous habits and oversights, then your doctor and pharmacist will be happy to take you on as a permanent gastritis customer.

After you?ve tried all that and finally decide your wealth is your health, you will stop at nothing to restore natural vitality and digestive balance.

Dizziness usually comes just before you pass out, or fall over and where and when you lose your balance may determine whether you live through the experience.

So to cure your gastritis, as with any degenerative health issue you need to see the value of living a life not only free of symptoms, but one that nurtures nature balance, not dizziness.

You were born to heal,

Todd M. Faass?

Health Ecologist

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October 7, 2010

Can Heartburn Cause Shortness Of Breath?

Heartburn can be mistaken for coronary artery disease because it can mimic angina, or chest pain

Heartburn can be described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing, or painful feeling in your chest accompanied by shortness of breath.

The difference between heartburn and angina is that angina, which is usually felt in the chest area, may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.

So there’s no confusion, I’ve listed other symptoms of coronary artery disease:

* Shortness of breath

* Palpitations (irregular heart beats, skipped beats, or a “flip-flop” feeling in your chest)

* A faster heartbeat

* Weakness or dizziness

* Nausea

* Sweating

It is possible that a severe acid rebound event, in the right situation could cause gastric acid particles to go down the wind pipe triggering a severe coughing spell that not only may feel like an attack of angina, but could end up causing heart failure either from suffocation or overstressing an already weakened heart condition.

Acid reflux, heartburn and the acid rebound disease Over-The-Counter (OTC) antacids can induce are very serious health concerns.

I realize the drug companies have disarmed your natural sense of alarm on the subject of heartburn, but it still drastically affects your quality of life. Not only has heartburn become a casual term, it still leads to Gastric-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which can also end up as terminal throat cancer.

If you’re lucky you’ll just end up with a radical surgery that will permanently ruin your quality of life, as well as shorten life expectancy.

Then there’s what doctors call “chemical pneumonia.”

Also called “chemical pneumonitis,” which is inflammation of the lungs ?due to inhaling chemical fumes, or aspirating (breathing in and choking on) gastric acid from the stomach, mineral oil, gasoline, or other damaging chemicals.

Yes your stomach acid is equal to an industrial strength chemical, hydrochloric acid. When it’s in a gastric form the fumes can permanently damage your lungs. Once the stomach acid particles are splashed, inhaled or coughed into the lungs an immune reaction begins in an effort to fight off the noxious chemical attack.

This can lead to too many white blood cells (cytokines), severe inflammation and enough mucus to choke a horse.

Chronic chemical pneumonitis can happen after exposure to small amounts of acid reflux particles or fumes causing irritation over a long length of time. This triggers inflammation and may cause “fibrosis” (scarring) which makes it difficult for the lungs to get oxygen to the body and release carbon dioxide as waste, leading to a stiffening of the lung.

Unchecked, this long term exposure to gastric acid fumes and acid reflux may ultimately lead to respiratory failure and death.

You were born to heal,

Todd M. Faass?

Health Ecologist

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