Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal Hernia services offered in Waldorf, MD

A hiatal hernia is a gastrointestinal problem most common in people 50 and older. Though sometimes painful, healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medication often provide lasting relief. At GI Associates of Maryland in Waldorf, Maryland, the team of experienced gastroenterologists specializes in treating hiatal hernias. After an exam, they can make personalized care recommendations that align with your needs. Call the GI Associates of Maryland office today to schedule treatment for a hiatal hernia, or book your appointment online. 

Hiatal Hernia Q & A

What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when your stomach pushes through your diaphragm –– a large muscle between your abdomen and chest. Small hiatal hernias rarely cause problems, but larger ones can cause food and stomach acid to flow into your esophagus, causing heartburn and inflammation.

What are the symptoms of a hiatal hernia?

Hiatal hernia symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling full right after you start eating
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Heartburn

As the hernia worsens, it might regurgitate stomach acid or food back into your mouth.

How is a hiatal hernia diagnosed?

Your GI Associates of Maryland provider reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and completes a physical exam. Then, they order specialized tests, including:

X-ray of your upper digestive system

Before undergoing an upper digestive system X-ray, your provider advises you to drink a chalk-like contrast material. The material lines your digestive tract, making your esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine visible to the X-ray machine. 

Upper endoscopy

During an upper endoscopy, your GI Associates of Maryland provider inserts an endoscope –– a thin tube with a light and camera –– into your mouth and down your throat. The endoscope emits a real-time video feed, allowing your provider to check your esophagus for scarring and inflammation.

Esophageal manometry

Esophageal manometry analyzes the muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow, providing insights into the health of the muscles in your upper digestive tract.

How is a hiatal hernia treated?

Treatment of a hiatal hernia depends on the size of the hernia and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Small hiatal hernias usually don’t require treatment, but if you regularly experience heartburn or have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your provider addresses those issues. GI Associates of Maryland might recommend:

  • Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
  • Medications to reduce acid production
  • Medications that stop acid production and help heal your esophagus
  • Surgery

Hiatal hernia surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves your provider pulling your stomach back into the proper position and making the opening in your diaphragm smaller. They might also reconstruct your lower esophageal sphincter, a band of muscle that prevents food from flowing back into your esophagus. 

Call the GI Associates of Maryland office today to schedule hiatal hernia treatment, or book your appointment online.