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Mobile/disappearing hiatal hernia or misdiagnosis?
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Mobile/disappearing hiatal hernia or misdiagnosis?

Hi, I'm 19 years old, 5'0 in height and around 97 lbs in weight.

For two years now, I've been suffering from hyperacidity; sometime June last year, my symptoms took a turn for the worse and I saw about two doctors before finally being diagnosed as having GERD. I was prescribed Omeprazole and Domperidone for almost two months but that... didn't really work. The symptoms remained and eventually the physical pain got even worse.

As a side note... if you were wondering, the pain is predominantly around the upper left area of my abdomen, just below the breastbone area, and the entirety of my chest. I didn't mention this earlier because I also suffer from costochondritis and a rather severe scoliosis so the pain may also be partly due to that. but if these symptoms signify something else, please, please say so. I also have eating problems, stomach pains, and breathing issues - I react to random foods but mostly preserved, spicy, oily, fried, and sour ones. The latter we owe to the acid coming up my esophagus. I also have trouble sleeping and tend to be woken up at night by my breathing difficulties. finally, if you were wondering, we were able to cancel out other possible abnormalities. Heart is ok, lungs are ok... We went to see a neurologist and found out I have epilepsy, but I don't know if that matters in this case.

So anyway, we saw another doctor and this one did an upper GI endoscopy on me and discovered I had a sliding hiatal hernia. He prescribed Protoprazole and another brand of Domperidone. For some time they worked, but eventually, for some reason, the symptoms got worse again, and I complained to the doctor about it so he performed a barium swallow test on me. Surprisingly, the test proved unremarkable - the hernia didn't show up. The doctor was confused and he started going about why my hernia isn't showing up in the barium test when he clearly saw it in the endoscopy.

After that, I saw another doctor - about three months later - and he decided to redo my upper GI endoscopy. Very surprisingly, he reported unremarkable results - he said there was no hiatal hernia at all. And so I was diagnosed (again) with GERD. He prescribed Rabeprazole and so far (it's been about three days since I first started taking it) it's been effective. Not TOTALLY effective, but at least the stomach pains disappeared/aren't as prevalent and I can breathe a little better in response to acid reflux.

And so now that I've explained the whole backdrop, here's my question:

Is it possible for a sliding hiatal hernia to just suddenly disappear? And then come back again, only to disappear again?

I've been thinking about the results of my latest endoscopy and I just... I find it hard to believe that the first endoscopy was a mistake. Or... to put it better... the hiatal hernia diagnosis was a misdiagnosis. The guy who performed it on me was the head of the gastro dept in that hospital and, well, aren't gastroenterologists trained to recognize hernias? Isn't this sort of thing basic? In the same manner that for a singer, knowing how to breathe properly while singing is basic?

Is it possible that both doctors - the one who did my first endoscopy and the one who did my latest one - are both correct? It's just that when I had the first one, the hernia was up there in my chest - thus it existed - and when I had the second one, it had already slid back down. I was also wondering if my current (at least at the time I took the test) upper GI state had anything to do with the results - when I had my first endoscopy, I was in extreme, extreme physical pain, and couldn't eat anything at all. I was throwing up everything I ate. When I had my second one a few days ago, I wasn't in big pain - I was paying close attention to what I ate so nothing big was going on, but of course I could feel the symptoms were still there - does that say something about the movements/state of the hernia? My gastroenterologist did say that sometimes, sliding hernias DO tend to go up and down depending on my eating habits and stress levels (or something)...

I'm currently overseas seeking medical treatment. Before I go home, I want to make sure everything is in its proper... place now. No more confusing treatments or misdiagnoses (if ever). I'd like everything about my treatments to be thorough; I've been through so many doctors now trying to find a solution for my health issues (because believe me, I have more, not just this gastro one -_- they all took some time to diagnose and identify) and frankly, I'm (and my family) frustrated. I also would like to avoid any possible complications in the future due to misdiagnoses/not-thorough-enough treatments, so... yeah.

Any insights from the doctors here? Medical professionals? Do hernias really go up and down like that, and thus sometimes "exist" and in some cases don't? Do I have to bring this up with my doctor?

I have my first endoscopy video with me if you'd like to see - just let me know. Or maybe you can just, I don't know, show me what a hiatal hernia - a minor sliding one, I guess - looks like from an endoscope so I can check if the one in the video is a hernia? And what a healthy stomach/hiatus looks like so I can compare? I prefer the first option, but um...

Anyway, just let me know.

Thanks! Hoping to get answers soon.

2 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been diagnosed with hiatal hernia in 2 separate endoscopies and have had doctors tell me all sorts of wild things about it... I remember one saying it is the endoscopic instrument which caused and creating the false positive (why would they write it then? how does that even happen?). Another doctor somehow believed that a hiatal hernia is just the stomach not shutting properly. This one guy initially sent me to an osteopath to try and reduce it, but recently told me there is no way to reduce it...

Just be happy that they actually took the time to rule out other causes for your symptoms, try to find a diet and medicine which work for you. The hernias do come and go and I find that stuff like jogging really helps in pushing everything down!
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1702615_tn?1407340009
Probably won't check this again as you posted over a year ago  but stumbled onto this b/c I have had the same conflicting reports from diff docs on the hiatal hernia.  Was disappointed to see nobody has offered any info.  As I am still looking.  Lots of health issues here that seem to be directly related to my digestive system and nobody can diagnose, meanwhile low on nutrients and in pain so I am exploring .  Keep telling myself I have to take a break from trying to get diagnosed but when you live in pain and no you are malnourished it is kind of hard to ignore.
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