How to Know if You Have a Hiatal Hernia

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Pay attention to heartburn.,
Be alert if you have difficulty swallowing.,
Take note if you regurgitate food.,
Know that you may experience some of the same symptoms as people with sliding hernias.,
Pay attention to any acute chest pain you may feel.,
Take note if you constantly feel bloated.

The stomach is a very acidic environment (pH of 2) because it must mix and break down food while fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, the esophagus or food tube is not built to handle acidic material. When the hernia causes backflow of food from the stomach into the food tube, a burning sensation in the food tube occurs. The close location of the food tube to the heart makes a person feel the burn in their chest area near the heart; hence, the name heartburn., The food pipe becomes filled with food from the stomach when heartburn is present; therefore, food from the mouth cannot be swallowed and accommodated easily. If you suddenly find that you cannot easily swallow food or water, contact a doctor.

, Sometimes, the acidic contents of your stomach reach the top of the esophagus after a major heartburn and leave a bitter taste. Regurgitation can be described as throwing up in the mouth and could be a sign that you have a sliding hernia., A paraesophageal hernia squeezes itself into the hiatus while the part of the stomach remains in its normal position, effectively acting like two people trying to fit through a narrow door simultaneously. This causes compression and gives more symptoms. Heartburn, difficulty with swallowing, and regurgitation are common.

, When the hernia and the part of the stomach that is in its normal position become too compressed, the blood flow to the stomach is severely cut-off. This leads to a poor blood supply and potential death of a part of the stomach. The drop in blood flow triggers an acute, crushing, heavy chest pain similar to a heart attack. This symptom warrants immediate medical attention and physician consultation is strongly advised.

, A person with a paraesophageal hernia feels full when he or she starts to eat because the stomach cannot clear the contents right away. This can cause a lack of important nutrients because your stomach is not properly processing food.

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