What’s the best treatment option for your hiatal hernia? You’re likely wondering if you can do something besides have surgery or take antacids for the rest of your life to manage the symptoms which can include everything from having difficulty swallowing, to suffering from constant acid reflux, and gritting your teeth through debilitating pain in the upper abdomen.
When we swallow food, it passes through a tube called the esophagus to get to our stomachs. This tube also passes through our diaphragm, a small, kidney-shaped organ that sits just below the lungs, before it gets to the stomach. The hole in the diaphragm that allows the esophagus to pass through is called the esophageal hiatus, and to decide upon the best options for treatment, we need to understand why this hiatus gets in trouble.
How to Diagnose Hiatal Hernia?
You can get an endoscopy done at any local diagnostic centre. it is important to get this done in order to know whether you have a hiatal hernia. You can never be sure whether you have a hiatal hernia from symptoms or by visiting a local physician. An endoscopy or a similar procedure is a must for proper diagnosis.
What Caused Your Hiatal Hernia?
Western medicine will tell you that your hiatal hernia could have been present at birth – some people just have bigger hiatal openings, or that your constant acid reflux is hereditary, but what is more likely happening is that your body is full of free radicals, the wrong pH levels, and inflamed intestines which puts a lot of pressure on the abdominal wall. This is what leads to a hiatal hernia, and all its discomforts.
Does a Hiatal Hernia Heal itself?
No, they do not heal themselves. It is hard to heal a hiatal hernia naturally. It has be taken extreme care of by following a strict diet (usually low protein) along with pH balancers and bacteriostats to get rid of H pylori and other bacteria that are well known to form this type of hernia.
The Traditional Method of Curing Hiatal Hernia
The most common approach to curing a hiatal hernia is to simply give antacids to help with the pain, and then to prescribe surgery.
This is an odd way to cure a disease when you consider that stomach acids are flowing back into the esophagus – and the esophageal lining is nothing like the stomach. It wasn’t meant to deal with those high acid levels. Your esophagus wasn’t meant to break down food!
Giving someone an antacid might temporarily lower the acid levels in the stomach, so that when this acid leaks back into our esophagus it isn’t so painful and doesn’t irritate the esophageal lining, but it also makes it harder for our bodies to break down our food.
Pressure on the esophagus – due to obesity, violent coughing, vomiting, or even jumping up and down too vigorously in a fitness class could then also cause your hiatal hernia – as there is undue pressure on the abdomen which can make the hiatal opening prone to malfunction.
Western medicine rarely makes the connection between GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and hiatal hernia – but the malfunctioning of the intestines due to chronic inflammation as well as having an overly acidic body can contribute to this problem.
Hiatal hernia – the protrusion of the stomach into the esophagus – has other causes.
Psychological factors should also be considered like stress, anxiety, tension, anger, and fear – all of which play an important role in aggravating this disease.
For yoga practitioners, poses that put additional pressure on the abdomen should be avoided – this includes postures like
However, relaxing, supine postures can help reduce stress, which can therefore reduce chronic inflammation.
Hiatal Hernia Diet
Diet might be one best ways to start mitigating the symptoms of hiatal hernia.
- Stick to a low protein diet (this is very important) – this will help stress levels on internal organs reduce and the body will try to heal itself
- Follow fixed meal timings – having meals at the same time everyday can make a huge difference to your body
- Never skip breakfast
- Breakfast should be heavy and dinner should be light
- Avoid spicy foods, they can irritate the esophagus and stomach causing excess acid.
- Avoid peppermint and spearmint.
- Avoid fried foods
- Avoid saturated fat
- Reduce citrus fruit drinks
- Reduce or eliminate dairy except for ghee
- Switch to green tea and eliminate caffeine
- Add leafy greens, legumes, nuts, cruciferous vegetables, turmeric, ginger, avocadoes, fish high in Omega 3s (they reduce chronic inflammation of the gut)
Acupuncture and herbal remedies offered by Chinese Medicine can also help with the pain of hiatal hernia, as well as begin to reverse chronic inflammation; however, lifestyle choices like a better diet will still need to be utilized for the hernia not to recur.
A minor hiatal hernia can be greatly aided by acupuncture and acupressure, but if it is severe, the root cause – gut inflammation – must be addressed for a long-term, lasting healing.
Over-the-Counter Medications and Prescribed Drugs
The drugs usually prescribed for hiatal hernia don’t do much more than help manage the symptoms.
What’s worse, aspirin and acetaminophen can irritate the stomach and gut, and antibiotics used when there is a perceived infection, kill all the gut bacteria – the good AND the bad, so that your immune system is then compromised, and chronic inflammation simply continues – contributing to GERD and hiatal hernia.
Our immunity is largely due to the presence of healthy gut bacteria, so if we take medications that kill all of them off, we only end up with an even more irritated and angry gut, a stomach that can’t digest food properly, and an esophageal opening that is constantly irritated.
Hiatal Hernia Surgery
Usually most doctors suggest a surgery for a hiatal hernia. However, thats not the only way for a hiatal hernia treatment. Medical practitioners themselves have agreed time and again that surgeries for hiatal hernia can relapse and cause a great deal of discomfort to the patient. Additionally they have to be coupled with various medications to counter the symptoms after which, the hernia relapses within 1-2 years.
This is because surgery doesn’t treat the original cause of the hiatal hernia, so it can come back!
Recurrence rates of several types of hiatal hernia, though, can be as high as 35%!
There can also be some pretty serious complications, like:
- Chronic coughing and wheezing caused by stomach secretions seeping into the esophagus, and throat
- Scarring of the lower esophagus which makes it difficult to swallow
- Anemia caused by constant bleeding of the surgery site or lower esophagus
- Chronic inflammation of the esophagus, which causes continual acid reflux
The usual out-of-pocket expense for a surgery of this type, even if you have insurance, can be quite substantial, too. The typical surgery costs around $5,000 U.S. dollars, but this doesn’t include any subsequent medications, hospital stays, loss of income from missing work, having to hire childcare while you are recovering, etc.
Moreover, surgeries do not address the root cause i.e. eradicating bacteria such as H pylori or regulating the pH balance naturally in the body, which is why there are so many recurrent cases of hiatal hernia.
Another possible option to heal your hiatal hernia for good is to use natural medicines. These medicines work on the root cause of the problem, helping to restore the pH in the body and reduce pressure form the abdominal wall so that the stomach can stop protruding into the esophagus.
HERNICA strengthens the intestines and abdominal wall by enhancing digestion, thereby reducing inflammation of the intestines and thus the pressure on abdominal wall.
ACIDIM acts by removing free radicals from the intestines and also acts as a catalyst in the entire healing process by maintaining optimum pH levels in the body.
XEMBRAN is a herbal bacteriostatic that has a powerful bactericidal action. It stops growth as well as kills H pylori (bad bacteria that adds to inflammation) in the stomach which is known to be a major cause for hiatal hernia. Xembran works with the body’s defense mechanism to eliminate the harmful bacteria and does not have any side effects.
Acidim and Xembran also work together also help to repair and restore the stomach lining. You can read about them here