As many as 60 percent of Americans will develop a hiatal hernia by age 60. At Peak Gastroenterology Associates, with clinics in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Salida, Denver, Woodland Park, and Parker, Colorado, the skilled gastroenterologists offer comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services, including minimally invasive surgery, for bothersome hiatal hernia symptoms. If you can’t find relief for chronic heartburn, schedule a consultation at the Peak Gastroenterology Associates clinic nearest you by calling the office or by requesting an appointment online now.
Hiatal Hernia Q&A
WHAT IS A HIATAL HERNIA?
A hiatal hernia is a condition that develops when the upper part of your stomach pushes through a weak spot in your diaphragm, the thin muscle that separates your abdomen from your chest.
In a healthy body, your diaphragm prevents stomach acid from flowing back into your esophagus. When a hiatal hernia develops, acids are able to move through the diaphragm and into your esophagus, causing a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A HIATAL HERNIA?
The symptoms of a hiatal hernia result from GERD and may include:
- Dry cough
- Bad breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Shortness of breath
If stomach acids frequently flow into your mouth, you may also notice the wearing away of enamel on your teeth.
During diagnostic testing for GERD symptoms, the Peak Gastroenterology Associates team often discovers the root cause is a hiatal hernia.
HOW IS A HIATAL HERNIA DIAGNOSED?
The team at Peak Gastroenterology Associates offers the latest advancements in diagnostic testing for hiatal hernias, including chest X-rays.
You may also undergo a procedure where you swallow a barium solution that your provider follows through your gastrointestinal tract with X-ray technology.
You may also need an upper endoscopy, a procedure where your Peak Gastroenterology Associates provider inserts a slender tube with an attached camera into your throat and down into your upper digestive tract. The camera sends back real-time images of your esophagus and can help your doctor identify a hiatal hernia.
HOW IS A HIATAL HERNIA TREATED?
Your Peak Gastroenterology Associates provider may take a wait-and-see approach to treating a hiatal hernia. They may recommend over-the-counter acid reducers to treat GERD symptoms.
Your provider also works with you on a diet plan that limits spicy foods, alcohol, and other products that can worsen GERD symptoms.
Surgery to repair the hernia may be necessary if medications and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to control moderate to severe GERD symptoms.
The team at Peak Gastroenterology Associates can use minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to repair the hernia through small incisions to ensure less trauma to your body and a faster recovery.