Hiatal Hernia - A Common Digestive Disorder

Jan 30, 2019

A hiatal hernia occurs when a part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. This condition can cause various uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and acid reflux.

Understanding Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernias are quite common, affecting a significant number of individuals. The diaphragm, a large muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen, normally has an opening called the hiatus. Through this opening, the esophagus connects to the stomach. However, when the hiatus weakens or enlarges, it can allow a portion of the stomach to protrude into the chest area, leading to a hiatal hernia.

Causes and Risk Factors

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of hiatal hernia. These include:

  • Age - Hiatal hernias are more common in individuals over the age of 50.
  • Obesity - Excess weight can put pressure on the abdominal region, increasing the risk of herniation.
  • Pregnancy - The growing uterus can displace the stomach, making it more prone to herniation.
  • Smoking - Smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, making it easier for stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
  • Heavy lifting - Regularly lifting heavy objects can strain the muscles surrounding the hiatus, leading to herniation.

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

The symptoms of a hiatal hernia can vary from person to person, but commonly include:

  • Heartburn - A burning sensation in the chest, often after eating or when lying down.
  • Chest pain - Discomfort or pain in the chest area.
  • Acid reflux - A regurgitation of stomach acid into the throat, causing a sour taste.
  • Dysphagia - Difficulty swallowing, especially with larger bites or certain foods.
  • Belching - Frequent burping, sometimes accompanied by bloating.

Treating Hiatal Hernia

Eagan chiropractor, Naturally with Karen, offers holistic and effective treatment options for hiatal hernia that focus on addressing the underlying causes. Treatment may include:

Chiropractic Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate the symptoms of hiatal hernia by realigning the spine and improving the function of the nervous system. By reducing spinal misalignments, the body's natural healing abilities are enhanced, promoting better digestion and reducing symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.

Lifestyle Modifications

Adopting certain lifestyle changes can greatly contribute to managing hiatal hernia symptoms. These may include:

  • Weight management - Maintaining a healthy weight can alleviate pressure on the abdominal area.
  • Dietary adjustments - Avoiding trigger foods like spicy, fatty, or acidic foods can help prevent acid reflux.
  • Eating smaller meals - Consuming smaller, more frequent meals can reduce the pressure on the stomach and minimize discomfort.
  • Elevating the head while sleeping - Using pillows or raising the head of the bed can prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus during sleep.

Natural Remedies

Various natural remedies can provide relief from hiatal hernia symptoms. These include:

  • Herbal supplements - Certain herbs like slippery elm, marshmallow root, and chamomile can soothe the esophagus and reduce inflammation.
  • Acupuncture - Acupuncture can help balance the body's energy flow, easing symptoms associated with hiatal hernia.
  • Essential oils - Applying essential oils like lavender or peppermint topically can provide temporary relief from chest pain and heartburn.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you suspect you have a hiatal hernia or are experiencing persistent or severe symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. Eagan chiropractor, Naturally with Karen, specializes in providing comprehensive care for hiatal hernia and can offer tailored treatment plans to alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.


Hiatal hernia is a common digestive disorder that can cause discomfort and affect daily life. However, with the right approach to treatment and management, individuals can find relief and regain their quality of life. Naturally with Karen, your trusted Eagan chiropractor, offers holistic and effective solutions to help you overcome hiatal hernia symptoms and achieve optimal digestive health.

Joshua Hanelin
Very informative article, thanks!
Nov 11, 2023