can strong abdominal yoga postures cause hiatal hernia?
I intend on seeing a doctor today for pain in my upper stomach/ chest area and for esophagus discomfort. I initially thought I had pulled muscles in that area. I started hatha yoga at least 2 months ago and there is a posture that is done called the 'bundhas'. Its where you have exhaled all breath and then pull in and lift the stomach muscles, lifting the diaphragm and them pulling the chest muscles in also, holding for some seconds and then releasing the breath. This one posture is repeated 3 times and is a very strong posture. I have had constant pain and discomfort stemming from my diaphragm, to my chest and up my esophagus since doing this. I feel that my diaghram is contracting creating a cold buring sensation, pushing what feels like food up my chest and esophagus (similar to reflux but with greater pressure) My chest feels compressed and tight, as does the bottom of my throat. When I was searching the for answers based on my symptoms, I found 'hiatal hernia' - where a portion of the stomach pushes through the diaphrahm into the chest cavity. My symptoms match this diagnosis. I have struggled physically and mentally for the past 2 months due to the discomfort and pain and am experiencing feelings of panick whilst and after mild exercise such as walking. My main questions are:
Could this condition have been caused by a strong physical movement such as the bundha's?
If it is found via an upper GI and small bowel series that I do in fact have hiatal hernia or some abnormality in that area, how do I fix it?
If surgery is needed, is it a complex procedure and how long is recovery?
Thanks in advance for responding.
It's possible you have a pre-existing hiatal hernia and the abdominal exercises 'uncovered' the problem. If someone has a hiatal hernia, any form of exercise that elevates pressures in the abdominal area presses upward on the stomach and that unfortunately allows the acidic contents of the stomach toward the esophagus.
Unless the hiatal hernia is very problematic, the treatment for it is usually conservative - a change in lifestye, change in diet and meds to control acid reflux. If surgery is considered, it is typically done so after all other methods of control are exhaused because the surgery is not a simple one and it carries with it a fair number of side-effects. It's not a simple 'cut-and-stitch.'
In the meantime, you should consider taking to your doc and getting a referral to a good GI doc and ask to have an upper endoscopy done. In that manner the structure and lining of your esophagus, stomach and duodenum can be viewed and you will be able to find out exactly what is going on.
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