Hiatal Hernia Overview
Hiatal hernia is a condition in which the upper portion
of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through an opening of the
diaphragm called the esophageal hiatus. This opening usually is large enough to accommodate the esophagus alone. With weakening and enlargement however, the opening (or herniation) can allow upward passage or even entrapment of the upper stomach above the diaphragm.
- Hiatal hernia is a common condition. By age 60, up to 60% of people have it to some degree.
- There are 2 types of hiatal hernia.
- The sliding type, as its name implies, occurs when the junction between the stomach and esophagus slides up through the esophageal hiatus during moments of increased pressure in the abdominal cavity. When the pressure is relieved, the stomach falls back down with gravity to its normal position.
- The fixed type (or paraesophageal) implies that there is no sliding up and down. A portion of the stomach remains stuck in the chest cavity.
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Must Read Articles Related to Hiatal Hernia
Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)
Acid reflux (GERD) is caused by acid backing up from the stomach. Causes of acid reflux include smoking, obesity, alcohol, medications, diet, and other medical ...learn more >>
Barium swallow is a test used to determine causes of painful or difficulty swallowing, and diseases such as GERD, hiatal hernia, ulcers, dysphagia, tumors, or p...learn more >>
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) FAQs
Acid reflux (GERD) is caused by lifestyle factors (alcohol, obesity), medication, diet, medical conditions, and eating habits. Symptoms of acid reflux (GERD) in...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Hiatal Hernia: