Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia
General Surgeries located in Reston, VA
Though you don’t always need treatment for a hiatal hernia, if they cause symptoms or problems, you may benefit from medical intervention. The experienced team at the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia in Reston, Virginia, offers nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for your hiatal hernia and develop individualized plans to alleviate your discomfort and improve your quality of life. To schedule an evaluation, call the office or book online today.
Hiatal Hernia Q & A
What is a hiatal hernia?
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach protrudes through the small opening in your diaphragm that allows your esophagus to pass through your chest cavity to your stomach. The hernia develops due to a weakness in the muscle.
Though the cause of a hiatal hernia isn’t always known, the muscle weakness may develop due to the degenerative changes that occur as you age or from intense pressure on the muscle due to frequent vomiting or coughing. Hiatal hernias are more common in people over age 50 and people who are obese.
There are two types of hiatal hernias.
Sliding hiatal hernia
Sliding hiatal hernia is the most common type of hiatal hernia. With this type of hernia, both your stomach and a portion of your esophagus slide up through the weakened muscle.
Paraesophageal hiatal hernia
Paraesophageal hiatal hernias are less common but more serious. This type of hernia occurs next to the esophagus and may lead to health complications such as stomach obstruction or ischemia (tissue death from lack of blood supply).
What are hiatal hernia symptoms?
You may not experience any symptoms if you have a small hiatal hernia. However, if your hernia is large, your symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Acid reflux
- Heartburn that varies with body position or stance
- Foreign feeling of air pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, contact the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia to schedule an evaluation.
How are hiatal hernias diagnosed?
The surgical team at the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia performs comprehensive evaluations to diagnose hiatal hernias. During your evaluation, the team reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam.
Based on your symptoms, the team may request diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out a hiatal hernia, such as an endoscopy, barium swallow X-ray, or a pH test to assess the stomach acid in your esophagus.
How are hiatal hernias treated?
The team at the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia develops individualized treatment plans for the management of hiatal hernias based on the severity of your symptoms. Your treatment plan may include:
- Weight loss or weight management
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
- Medications to decrease stomach acid production
- Medications that block acid production to promote tissue healing
If medical interventions fail to alleviate your symptoms, the team at the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia may suggest surgical intervention. The experienced team specializes in hernia repair and offers minimally invasive surgical options, including robotic hernia repair and laparoscopic hernia repair.
To schedule an evaluation to discuss your hiatal hernia treatment options, contact the Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia by phone or online today.