Indigestion and chest pain can be symptoms of a hiatal hernia, according to Mayo Clinic. In a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach or the junction between the stomach and the esophagus pushes up through the hiatus, the hole in the diaphragm that lets the esophagus empty into the stomach.
Aside from the symptoms of indigestion, which include heartburn and a feeling of being too full after a meal, people with hiatal hernias may also have trouble swallowing, reports Mayo Clinic. They can vomit blood or pass black stool, which are both signs of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Because these symptoms are also signs of stomach cancer, according to WebMD, they should seek medical attention if they persist.
Treatment for hiatal hernia consists of reducing the side effects of acid reflux, explains MedicineNet. This means the physician prescribes medications that decrease the amounts of acid produced by the stomach. These drugs include proton pump inhibitors such as pantoprazole or omeprazole. Doctors also recommend that patients sleep with their heads elevated, that they frequently eat small meals throughout the day and that they avoid foods that aggravate heartburn.
In severe cases, patients require surgery to repair the hiatal hernia, notes MedicineNet.