Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Can a Hiatal Hernia go away totally without surgery???
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Can a Hiatal Hernia go away totally without surgery???

  : : I was recently diagnosed with a "small" hiatal hernia.  I'm not sure what the description "small" means.  To me, a hernia is a hernia.  My question is this; since this is a small hernia, does that mean that it's possible it could disappear with the proper diet and care?  I've never had health problems and i've never lifted heavy objects or been a heavy smoker.
  : : PLEASE ADVISE!!  THanks
  : Dear Lisa,
  : There are two types of hernias that occur in the region of the lower esophagus i.e., a sliding hiatal hernia and a paraesophageal hernia. Sliding hiatal hernias are more common and are probably the type that you are referring to. A sliding hiatal hernia is a congenital abnormality where the lower esophagus and part of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest cavity. This is due to a weakness in the muscles and ligaments that support the stomach in its proper position. You describe a "small" hiatal hernia. That probably means that only a small portion of the stomach is seen above the diaphragm. Hiatal hernias are commonly seen on chest x-rays and upper GI series. They can play a role in the development of gastroesophageal reflux or they can be totally asymptomatic. A sliding hiatal hernia is usually an anatomic abnormality that causes no problems, doesn't get bigger or smaller with time and does not require surgical repair. In patients with hiatal hernia and gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, the usual treatment for gastroesophageal reflux suffices. On the other hand, a paraesophageal hernia is a protrusion of the stomach into the chest cavity where part of the stomach lies along the lower esophagus and can actually cause a mechanical obstruction (blockage). These are less common than sliding hiatal hernias and usually require surgical repair. I hope you find this information helpful.
  : This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
  : If you want to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
  : HFHSM.D.-ym
  : *Keywords: hiatal hernia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, management
  Is there any possible way to strengthen the muscles and ligaments that contribute to the sliding hiatal hernia?  If these are strengthened, would it move the stomach back to it's original position?  Would sit-ups help?
  please advise...thanks!!
Dear Lisa,
Currently there are no strengthening exercises that can reverse this anatomic abnormality. The good news is that in most cases there is no cause for concern. Many people have hiatal hernias and don't even know it. Good luck to you.
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