Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

A hiatal hernia is an abnormality where a part of the stomach slides up into the chest cavity, past the diaphragm. It is usually caused by a widening of the opeing in the diaphragm muscle, where the esophagus and aorta pass from the chest cavity to the abdominal cavity. You may not have any symptoms with your hiatal hernia. However, sometimes, hiatal hernias may cause acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), which is when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. This may lead to symptoms such as:

The pain of heartburn can often be mistaken for the pain of a heart attack. It is important to see your doctor immediately if you have chest pain symptoms to get a proper diagnosis. Also contact your doctor if you have nausea or vomiting, you are unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas, or you have chronic heartburn.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCES:

UpToDate. Hiatal Hernia: The Basics.

WebMD. Understanding Hiatal Hernia -- Symptoms.

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