Your doctor has recommended that you undergo surgery to repair a hiatal hernia. But what does that actually mean?
Your diaphragm is a muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and helps you to breathe.
Normally, the diaphragm has an opening for the esophagus to pass through where it connects with the stomach.
A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes upward through this small opening.
Your hiatal hernia may be causing considerable discomfort, with symptoms like heartburn, difficulty swallowing, chest pain and belching. The reasons why hiatal hernias form are not known, but they are quite common.
A hernia is dangerous only if it becomes strangulated. That means that the portion of the stomach that is pushed up into the chest may become pinched - preventing blood from reaching it.
If this happens, you may require emergency surgery to restore blood flow and to repair the hernia.
Luckily, the vast majority of hernias are not considered to be emergencies. However, if you should ever feel a sudden onset of severe pain in your chest or stomach, you should seek medical attention immediately.
So make sure that you ask your doctor to carefully explain the reasons behind this recommendation.
Patient Education Company