Hiatal Hernia Doctor Questions and Answers
If you have a hiatal hernia, come to Vanguard Gastroenterology in New York City, NY for treatment today. Our doctor is qualified to evaluate, diagnose and treat hiatal hernias with years of experience. For more information, please call us or request an appointment online.
Hiatal hernias occur when the upper part of the stomach protrudes from the opening in the diaphragm known as a hiatus. Symptoms include trouble swallowing, burping, bloating, chest pain, heartburn, upset stomach and vomiting. The cause of hiatal hernias is still unclear, however possible causes include an injury to the area, a rise in pressure in the stomach due to pregnancy, obesity, coughing or straining and certain congenital conditions.
Does a gastroenterologist treat hiatal hernias?
Yes, gastroenterologists are the most qualified medical professionals to treat hiatal hernias. As they specialize in the gastrointestinal tract, they are experienced in treating conditions affecting this region, including hiatal hernias.
When should you see a doctor for a hiatal hernia?
Hiatal hernias should always be treated by a medical professional to prevent the risk of complications from arising. It could indicate a medical emergency if the following symptoms are present:
- Severe pain in the chest or stomach
- Upset stomach
- Cannot evacuate bowels or pass gas
Women are more likely to experience a hiatal hernia, as well as people who are overweight and over the age of 50.
Do hiatal hernias go away?
Hiatal hernias do not go away on their own and require medical attention. Treatment options for hiatal hernias mainly consist of medications and surgery. Medications include antacids that neutralize stomach acid, medications that block acid production and heal the esophagus, and medications to reduce acid production. Surgical options include incisional procedures such as thoracotomies and minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopies.
What happens if a hernia is left untreated?
Hiatal hernias tend to get larger and worsen if left untreated. Mild symptoms can quickly turn serious, developing into severe complications. If you are experiencing symptoms and suspect you have a hiatal hernia, it is imperative to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Although minimizing strain and strenuous activities that put pressure on the diaphragm can reduce the severity of symptoms, hiatal hernias cannot heal on their own. In some cases, hernias can stop growing, but they never get smaller without medical intervention. In rare and extreme cases, hernias can increase in size so much that the abdominal cavity risks collapsing, which would make repair and recovery much more difficult. With this in mind, it is vital to treat a hernia while it is relatively small and less serious in order for the best treatment outcomes. Hernias that are smaller and less serious are typically much easier to repair, with recovery times that are generally much shorter when compared to larger and more complex hiatal hernias.
As hernias increase in size, they are more likely to put pressure on adjacent organs and risk cutting off circulation to certain parts of the body. If blood flow becomes restricted, it can lead to gangrene and tissue death. Reduce the risk of hiatal hernia complications by seeking treatment right away.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms such as severe stomach or chest pain, nausea, vomiting and obstructed defecation, you may have a hiatal hernia. Trust the medical professionals at Vanguard Gastroenterology to provide you with a higher level of care. We are experienced in treating hiatal hernias and can help you find relief. Call us today to book an appointment. We look forward to serving you!