A Hiatal Hernia during Pregnancy

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A hernia can be developed when an internal body part or organ protrudes out of the space where it is placed. Mostly a hernia happens when a loop of intestine protrudes within the weakened wall of the abdomen. A hiatal hernia is a little bit different from that of other types of a hernia. It may develop in women during the pregnancy period. According to the human anatomy, the chest cavity and abdomen cavity is separated by a diaphragm. And your esophagus passes through a hole in the diaphragm called the hiatus and connect the stomach. During pregnancy stomach may presses through that hole forming hiatal hernia.

Types of a hiatal hernia

Considering the position of the stomach different types of a hiatal hernia during pregnancy are found:

  • Sliding hiatal hernia — A part of the stomach that slides in and out through the hole, the small opening in the diaphragm muscle. It is the most common type.
  • Fixed hiatal hernia — The upper part of the stomach is blocked and remained in the chest cavity.
  • Complicated hiatal hernia — Some other which are uncommon but serious types of stomach herniation are found that may require surgery.

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia during pregnancy

Hiatal hernia pregnancy symptoms may move the stomach up resulting in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and symptoms may include:

  • Heartburn especially after eating and laying down
  • Discomfort in esophagus, chest, and stomach
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Belching
  • Throat irritation
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in swallowing

Risk factors of a hiatal hernia

Factors that increase the chances of getting hiatal hernia are:

  • Obesity
  • Previous abdominal injury
  • Regular pressure in the abdomen from the following actions:
    • Vomiting
    • Severe coughing
    • Straining
    • Sudden lifting of weight
  • As the uterus is growing larger during the second trimester and push the diaphragm more and more

Treatment

Under such a situation you should immediately consult with your doctor. If doctor after hearing from you the history and symptoms think necessary may advise endoscopy to observe the upper gastrointestinal series and if it is found not that type of serious issue he may further advise the following dietary changes:

  • Food that controls the muscles between esophagus and stomach should be avoided and those include:
    • Peppermint
    • Chocolate
    • Coffee
    • Fatty foods
    • Alcoholic beverages
  • Foods and beverages that cause irritation in the internal lining of the esophagus should be discarded which are:
    • Citrus fruits and juices
    • Caffeine
    • Hot peppers
    • Tomato products
    • Carbonated beverages
  • To minimize acid reflux you should:
    • Take smaller meals 4-6 times instead of 3 large meals per day
    • Take your dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime
  • Reduce unnecessary pressure on your abdomen and for that:
    • You should wear loose clothes and avoid belt around your waist
    • You should not bend after taking a meal which may cause increased pressure on your abdomen
  • Cease smoking — If you are a regular smoker then you must quit it immediately to avoid acid reflux
  • Antacids — On considering the gravity of your situation your doctor may prescribe proper antacids for you to neutralize acid and relief heartburn.