A hiatal hernia occurs when the top of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm, a flexible muscle that separates the abdomen and the chest. The diaphragm controls breathing and stops acid from entering the esophagus, but when a hiatal hernia develops, an individual is at a greater risk of GERD-related discomfort. A hiatal hernia may develop over time, though some people are born with one. When developed in adulthood, they are usually the result of excessive straining or age-related changes to the diaphragm. Chronic coughing, pregnancy, obesity, constipation, straining excessively during bowel movements, and physical injury can also lead to a hiatal hernia. Small hiatal hernias are common and may cause no symptoms at all. Larger ones are more likely to cause acid reflux and other symptoms.
Receive updates on the latest news and alerts straight to your inbox.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.