Hernias occur when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the abdominal muscle wall. The most common stomach hernias are known as hiatal hernias. These types of hernias occur when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus and stomach connect. Hernias can be caused by a genetic predisposition, moving heavy objects or obesity. Often there are no symptoms associated with stomach hernias. But larger hernias may present with specific symptoms.
Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. At times, this reflux of acid can become chronic such as with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Heartburn caused by acid reflux can be treated with over the counter acid reducers. Your doctor can also recommend prescription medication if over the counter medications aren’t sufficient.
Hiatal hernias can cause belching or bloating. The best way to avoid these symptoms is to avoid eating large meals and alcohol, notes the Mayo Clinic. Also, avoid carbonated beverages and spicy foods. Eat small, frequent meals. Drink only small amounts of liquid with meals.
Infrequently, hernias can cause nausea. When this occurs, it is usually due to overeating or making food choices that conflict with the hernia diagnosis. Avoiding large meals and eating frequent, healthful meals helps avoid this symptom.
At times, stomach hernias can cause chest pain or pressure. This is especially true in cases of hiatal hernias. Chest pain or pressure is caused when a portion of the stomach becomes trapped above the muscle wall. In more serious cases, blood supply to the hernia may become restricted due to pressure from the muscle wall. This is known as a strangulated hernia and is a medical emergency. As with any instance of chest pain, seek immediate medical assistance for a complete diagnosis.
About this Author
Cynthia Bateman is a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she is pursuing her Master of Arts in English with an emphasis in composition pedagogy. She has most recently been published in the literary journal, “River Bluff Review.” She is also a registered professional nurse.