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Hiatal Hernia Hell
Hello, I am a 23 year old male having experienced chest discomfort for the past 3 years after a nasty spell of bronchitis. The discomfort is on the upper left side of my chest but it seems to slightly move around a bit now and then. It doesn't really cause pain, but is the most uncomfortable feeling - so much that it's effecting my social life. It just feels like a tightness or a knot that never goes away!

Now and then it will almost disappear to the point I can ignore it and do normal activities; but it always comes back at what seems like random times and lingers for weeks. The feeling is hard to describe, but I always feel like lifting my left arm over my head and stretching to get the "knot" out of my chest; but it never goes away even after physical therapy stretching. I also get shortness of breath and can't breath through my nose while running anymore. I now take 30mg Prevacid everyday because of GERD symptoms. I never had heartburn before the chest discomfort -  my diet is excellent and I still have GERD symptoms while taking the Prevacid.

It sounds to me like I have a Hiatal Hernia, but I have had barium swallow & endoscopy done and both showed perfect anatomy! I am an A avg. college student, so I'm not stupid or crazy; but my doctor keeps saying to ignore it because it's all in my head. (I will just mention I had all the tests done on lungs & heart too that came back perfect). I just read a post on another site about this guy who had a Hiatal Hernia that didn't show up on baruim swallow or endoscopy; but then went for a 2nd barium swallow that showed it. Can this happen?

Is it possible that a barium swallow or endoscopy can miss a Hiatal Hernia? If so how would it be found?

Also, If you have a hiatal hernia, what does the chest discomfort feel like if you subtract the GERD symptoms?
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1 Answers
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1661778 tn?1307053502
Hello there! I too suffer from GERD and a similar chest discomfort right below my sternum. Sometimes it is even off to the left and right of my sternum in my ribs. It's never very painful, but it's annoying to me. This all started happening to me over 2 months ago. My doctor currently has me on Omeprazole 20mg to help control the reflux. That takes care of the acidic feeling in my throat, but does not alleviate the pressure under the sternum. My discomfort also disappeared for a while, and then came back and has lingered for over a week now.

You asked about symptoms. Well, here's what I know about hiatal hernias. You might have symptoms such as:

    Chest pain

    Increased Belching

    Heartburn, worse when bending over or lying down

    Swallowing difficulty

    Nausea

A hiatal hernia by itself rarely causes symptoms -- pain and discomfort are usually due to the reflux of gastric acid, air, or bile. Reflux happens more easily when there is a hiatal hernia, although a hiatal hernia is not the only cause of reflux.

The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

Reducing the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux) will relieve pain. Medications that neutralize stomach acidity, decrease acid production, or strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that prevents acid from backing up into the esphagus) may be prescribed.

Other measures to reduce symptoms include:

    Avoiding large or heavy meals

    Not lying down or bending over immediately after a meal

    Reducing weight and not smoking

If these measures failure to control the symptoms, or complications appear, surgical repair of the hernia may be necessary.

Hope this answers some questions. Feel better!
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