A hiatal hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. This common condition can cause symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing and may increase the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While many people with hiatal hernias have no symptoms and require no treatment, more severe cases may require medical intervention.
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Acidic taste in the mouth
- Regurgitation of food or liquids
- Feeling of fullness after eating small amounts of food
- In some cases, bleeding and anemia (from erosion of the hernia into the esophagus)
- Weakness in the diaphragm muscles
- Age-related changes in the diaphragm muscles
- Injuries to the diaphragm
- Increased pressure in the abdomen (from obesity, pregnancy, coughing, etc.)
- Congenital defects in the diaphragm
- Trauma to the chest or abdomen
- Complication of other medical conditions or surgeries
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