What is a hiatal hernia?
The top of the stomach is supposed to be even with the diaphragm (the muscle that moves the lungs and separates the chest and abdomen). Two things keep food in the stomach: the circular muscle at the top of the stomach and the pressure of the diaphragm pushing on the top of the stomach. These two barriers work best when they are in the same place. In a hiatal hernia, the top of the stomach is in the chest and the barriers are separated, making them less effective, and reflux more likely. The size of the hernia may change with time (bone and tissue may grow at different rates and the relationship changes). A hiatal hernia may falsely appear to be present on an x-ray when crying, etc, may have created the image. Hiatal hernias aren't usually corrected. If you can, control the gastroesophageal reflux (GER).
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