Hiatal Hernia Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Hiatal Hernia
Hiatal hernias are usually treated only when there are symptoms. When GERD is present, the following measures may help:
For people who are obese, losing weight may relieve symptoms.
Avoid foods that can relax the muscle that controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach including:
- Fatty foods
- Alcoholic beverages
Avoid foods and beverages that can irritate the internal lining of the esophagus, such as:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Tomato products
- Hot peppers
- Carbonated beverages
To minimize acid reflux:
- Consume smaller meals 4-6 times a day versus three large meals.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of fluids with meals.
- Do not eat within 2-3 hours of bedtime.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach.
Reduce Pressure on Your Abdomen
- Wear clothes and belts that are loose around your waist.
- Avoid stooping or bending after meals, which puts increased pressure on the abdomen.
Elevating the head of the bed on 6-inch blocks or sleeping on a specially designed wedge reduces heartburn. This position helps prevent stomach contents from refluxing backward into the esophagus.
Antacids can neutralize acid and temporarily relieve heartburn.
For chronic reflux and heartburn, several types of medications may be prescribed to reduce acid in the stomach. These include:
- H2 blockers such as:
- Proton pump inhibitors such as:
Surgery may be needed if:
- You have severe GERD symptoms that do not respond to other treatments.
- The hernia is at risk for twisting, which could cut off the blood supply to part of the stomach and cause that part to die.