About Hiatal Hernias

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Hernias occur when one part of the body protrudes through a gap or opening into another part. And although a hernia can theoretically develop almost anywhere, most are in the abdominal area. The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm -- the muscular wall separating the chest cavity from the abdomen. Normally, the esophagus (food pipe) goes through the hiatus and attaches to the stomach. In a hiatal hernia (also called hiatus hernia) the stomach bulges up into the chest through that opening. Most small hiatal hernias don't cause any problems, and you may never know you have a hiatal hernia unless your doctor discovers it when checking for another condition. But a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to back up into your esophagus, leading to heartburn and chest pain. Self-care measures or medications can usually alleviate these symptoms, although very large hiatal hernias sometimes need surgical repair.

There are two main types of hiatal hernias: sliding and paraesophageal (next to the esophagus). In a sliding hiatal hernia, the stomach and the section of the esophagus that joins the stomach slide up into the chest through the hiatus. This is the more common type of hernia.

The paraesophageal hernia is less common, but is more cause for concern. The esophagus and stomach stay in their normal locations, but part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus, landing it next to the esophagus. Although you can have this type of hernia without any symptoms, the danger is that the stomach can become "strangled," or have its blood supply shut off.

What causes Hiatal Hernias :

A lot of the time, the cause of the Hiatal Hernia is not known. Some people develop a hiatal hernia after sustaining an injury to that area of the body; others are born with a weakness or an especially large hiatus. Some experts suspect that increased pressure in the abdomen from coughing, straining during bowel movements, pregnancy and delivery, or substantial weight gain may contribute to the development of a hiatal hernia.

What are the symptoms of a Hiatal Hernia?

In rare cases, the part of your stomach that protrudes into your chest cavity may become twisted (strangulated) or have its blood supply cut off, leading to:

* Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
* Severe chest pain
* Obstruction of your esophagus

The recommended diet :

A few suggestions :
* Sit up for at least one hour after eating
* Eat smaller, more frequent meals, instead of larger meals
* Don't eat for at least two hours before bedtime
* Avoid foods that can trigger heartburn (acid reflux) symptoms
* Don't bend over right after eating

Food Lists :

Foods to Avoid :

* Brownie
* Chocolate
* Doughnut
* Corn Chips
* Potato Chips
* Ice Cream
* Cottage Cheese
* Milk Shake
* Spaghetti with sauce
* Wine
* Coffee
* Tea
* Salad Dressing
* Orange Juice
* Lemon
* Lemonade
* Grapefruit Juice
* Cranberry Juice
* Tomatoes
* French Fries
* Onions
* Chicken Nuggets
* Marbled Sirloin
* Buffalo Wings

Foods to eat in moderation :

* Raspberries
* Blueberries
* Peaches
* Apple Cider
* Strawberries
* Grapes
* Cranberries
* Garlic
* Onions (cooked)
* Leeks
* Sauerkraut
* Scallions
* Ground beef
* Chicken Salad
* Scrambled Eggs
* Fish
* Tuna Salad
* Hot Dogs
* Ham
* Milk (2 % or skim)
* Frozen Yogurt
* Cottage cheese (low fat)
* Cheddar Cheese
* Mozzarella Cheese
* Muffins
* Non-alcoholic wine
* Beer
* Cola
* Ketchup

Safe Foods :

* Carrots
* Cabbage
* Broccoli
* Bananas
* Apple Juice
* Dried Apples
* Fresh Apples
* Green Beans
* Peas
* Ground Beef (extra lean)
* Steak
* Chicken Breast (skinless)
* Egg Whites
* Egg Substitute
* Fish
* Feta or Goat Cheese
* Sour Cream
* Cream Cheese
* Soy cheese
* Cereal (bran and oatmeal)
* Corn Bread
* Graham Crackers
* Pretzels
* Rice Cakes
* Rice (Brown or White)
* Jelly Beans
* Red Licorice
* Baked Potato Chips


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