Hiatus hernia generally occurs in women and people who are overweight. It is also commonly found in people above the age of 50. Hernia is a condition which can be understood as – any internal body part which pushes into an area where it does not belong to is termed as ‘Hernia’.
There is a opening called ‘Hiatus’ in the diaphragm which is a muscular layer separating chest area from the abdomen. Generally, the esophagus or the food pipe penetrates through the hiatus and attaches to the stomach. In hiatus hernia condition, the stomach through this opening, bulges up into the chest.
Some people suffering with this condition might feel horrible burning in the chest along with acid reflux and heartburn whereas some might not have any symptom at all. The pain primarily occurs for people who are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. In hiatal hernia, the stomach makes its way into the chest area through haitus in the diaphragm, allowing the esophagus to reach to the stomach from the throat. The solution for this kind of situation is to bring the stomach out from the hiatal opening. There are some of the home remedies which can give you relief from this painful situation without undergoing surgery.
Natural Remedies for Hiatus Hernia
Sometimes, food particles can get stuck above the diaphragm and the stomach acids will wash against the uncovered esophagus, leading to burning pain, acid reflux and heart burn. The following home remedies for hiatus hernia will help you relieve from this condition:
1. Warm water: When you get out of the bed in the morning, drink a glass of water at room temperature or luke warm water. Avoid tea, coffee, juice and cold water. Drinking warm water acts as a weight in the stomach and it also helps relax the stomach muscles.
2.Exercise: Along with the above remedy in the morning, you should practice daily exercise to get relief soon:
- Stand straight and bring your arms from sides so that they touch your chest when you bend the elbows.
- Now, stand on your toes as high as possible and drop down. Your drop down should be such that you get a good jolt and practice this for ten times continuously.
- After the above workouts, one breathing exercise will also be beneficial. To do this, stand straight with arms up in the air, then breathe short breaths with open mouth for about 15 seconds.
These exercises will help you relieve of the acid reflux problem in hernia. The last breathing exercise helps close the diaphragm and the esophagal hiatus. You should perform them on a daily basis till the problem is cured.
3. Lifestyle Changes: Some lifestyle changes will help control the symptoms of acid reflux caused due to hiatal hernia and these include the following:
- Eat small meals divided several times in a day and avoid three big meals a day.
- Dinner should be taken two hours before bed time.
- If you are overweight, try to reduce the weight.
- Smoking should be completely avoided.
- Head of the bed should be elevated by six inches to avoid acid coming back into the throat.
4. Avoid Foods Causing Acids in Stomach: Foods that are highly acidic can weaken the lower sphincter of esophagus which causes the stomach acids back up into the esophagus, ultimately leading to heartburn. Thus, the following foods should be avoided:
- Citrus fruits: Orange, lemon, grapefruit, cranberries etc.
- Fatty foods: Avoid fatty and fried meats.
- Onions and garlic
- Spicy foods
- Foods containing tomatoes like pizza, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, chilli salsa etc.
- Spearmint and peppermint
- Carbonated drinks
- Tea, coffee and alcohol
- Dairy products like ice cream, whole milk and foods containing cream.
- Butter and oil
5. Foods Allowed in Hiatus Hernia: The following low- acid producing foods are allowed in this condition:
- Dairy products: Mild cheese like goat or feta cheese can be eaten in moderation. Low fat or skim milk, low fat yogurt and fat free sour cream
- Fruits: Apple and banana
- Vegetables: Peas, green beans, broccoli and carrots
- Cereals like oatmeal, bran, rice, pasta, bread and crackers
- Meats: lean meat, chicken and fish
- Low fat sweets
- Rice crackers, pretzels, rice cakes
These are some of the home treatments of hiatus hernia including diet and lifestyle changes. Hope these remedies will surely cure your problem without undergoing surgery as it is required in rare cases only. Though, some people will get relief just from changing diet and lifestyle, but if the ways suggested above do not provide you much relief, then you must consult your health practitioner for relief from hiatus hernia.
Note: In the case of bad hiatus hernia where it gets constricted which affects the blood supply than surgery might be only option where hernia is reduced and is moved back to its location. There is a small operation which could be via surgery with small incision or through laparoscopy.