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What is a hiatal hernia of the esophagus?

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Quick Answer

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach and the esophagus push up through the hiatus, which is the opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus connects to the stomach. People may experience heartburn due to food and stomach acid erupting into the esophagus, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

A hiatal hernia may be one of two types: sliding or paraesophageal. A sliding hiatal hernia is when the bulge of the stomach and the esophagus push up past the hiatus. A paraesophageal hernia occurs when a part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus beside, instead of into, the esophagus, according to WebMD.

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