Hiatal hernia is known to cause significant discomfort and pain but some individuals might not experience symptoms or have occasional episodes of digestive distress. The one-way valve at the base of the esophagus momentarily opens so that food passes into the stomach and then closes to prevent the stomach contents from backing up to the esophagus.
It is important to note that hiatal hernia occurs once the upper stomach drives through the valve and into the chest cavity.
The consumption of highly acidic beverages and foods can lead to heartburn and the discomfort is usually worse when the individual lies down or after eating a meal. In most cases, swallowing difficulties can occur and esophageal pain can occur once the food travels to the stomach.
The esophageal pain can feel like pressure or burning in the chest cavity after swallowing beverages or food. Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks can also trigger heartburn. In addition, chocolate, citrus juices, tomato-based and spicy foods can also trigger symptoms.
Sore throat and a croak-like voice can occur once the stomach contents such as the stomach acid travel back via the esophagus. The croaky voice and soreness might not decrease until sufficient production of saliva can defuse the acidic atmosphere.
In severe and long-term cases, the acid travels back the esophagus and into the oral cavity. This can cause lasting damage to the throat and vocal cords, resulting to permanent damage to the voice and persistent soreness in the throat. The stomach acid can also cause the bitter taste in the mouth and can even burn the tongue and damage the tooth enamel.
Belching and hiccups
Hiatal hernia can cause belching or hiccups right after eating a meal. Prolonged, deep and pronounced belching and hiccups occurs once the upper stomach pushes up via the one-way valve at the base of the esophagus.
Take note that deep belching can trigger pain in the esophagus and the upper stomach. The individual with a sliding hiatal hernia can experience difficulty with deep belching or hiccups in the early digestive phase as the stomach slides back and forth via the valve at the base of the esophagus. An individual with a fixed hiatal hernia can experience pressure in the chest at any time.
Unlike with other symptoms due to hiatal hernia that often manifest during or after a meal, chest pain can occur at any time. Individuals who have a fixed hernia might have constant chest pain or a feeling of tightness in the chest cavity. As for sliding hiatal hernia, it can trigger pain once the hernia slides back and forth via the sphincter in the esophagus.
The symptoms can trigger or become worse when lifting heavy objects or straining such as during a bowel movement. Take note that the pain can occur in the chest, between the shoulder blades or under the breastbone.
What are the other symptoms?
Diarrhea and vomiting can also occur. The blood-streak vomitus or stools can also occur which indicates a fixed or complicated hernia. Oftentimes, a twisted hernia can also lead to strangulation which cuts off the blood supply and entails immediate medical attention.
Vomiting, painful hiccups and diarrhea are some of the indications that can lead to fatigue, soreness and weakness all over the middle and upper body. Remember that the symptoms have the tendency to worsen over time and eventually require treatment.