Hiatus Hernia

Hiatus Hernia is when part of the stomach protrudes through a defect in chest area (hiatus). Protrusion of part of the stomach are in hernial sac formed by lining of the abdominal cavity, peritoneum.


Hiatus hernis is a very common disease. It is estimated that 2% to 4% of the world population have it.

Depending on location of hernia, there are umbrical hernia (in navel), inguinal hernia (in groin) and femoral hernia (in thigh).

During heavy exercise or due to long-lasting stretch abdominal muscles go apart. Adipous tissue or part of the intestine pull part of the peritoneum outside through the weak place and hernial sac occurs.

Person may not know they have hernia. If surgery is not done, two serious options may occur. First, part of the intestine, bladder or any other organ is squeezed in hernial sac. Herniated tissues start to die off and get infected, so surgery is required.

Secondly, in long-lasting hernia part of the intestine or bladder may grow into the walls of hiatus (hole) in the chest area. In this case, surgery is required too.

Causative Factors

To herniation may lead:

  • Some diseases that make defects in chest area
  • Injuries of chest area
  • Heavy exercises
  • Overweight
  • Loss of muscle bulk
  • Pregnancy
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Chronic cough
  • Frequent sneezing (allergy)
  • Strain when you go to the toilet (in constipations) or when urination (in enlarged prostate)

Symptoms of Hiatus Hernia

  • Feeling of pressure in the abdomen, groin or scrotum
  • Burn of pain in these parts
  • Bump on abdomen, groin or scrotum. It is getting bigger when coughing and disappears when lying.
  • Pain when lifting weight, coughing and straining

Remember! Following symptoms call for emergency measures:

  • When hernia is not moved in pressing slightly or lying
  • Increasing pain where hernia is
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloody stool
  • No bowel movements and wind

Diagnosing Hiatus Hernia

  • Medical exam
  • Abdominal x-ray (contrast studies)

Treating Hiatus Hernia

Patients have surgery.

It is important to treat hernia in time because serious complications are possible, even life-threatening. When squeezed hernia is harder to treat because herniated parts of organ are to be surgically removed.