Possible causes of a hiatus hernia include injury to muscle tissue and pressure on muscles that surround the stomach, according to Healthline. In certain individuals, it occurs at birth. There are two types of hernias, sliding and fixed, notes Drugs.com.
Injury weakens muscle tissue, which causes part of the stomach to bulge past the diaphragm. Muscular exertion around the stomach from weight lifting, vomiting, coughing and straining during a bowel movement also causes a hiatus hernia. Certain individuals have a higher risk of developing a hiatus hernia by virtue of having a large hiatus, explains Healthline. Smoking, pregnancy, obesity and aging are factors that heighten a person’s risk of a hiatus hernia.
There is a close association between hiatus hernia and gastroesophageal reflux disease, which causes gastric acids to flow back into the esophagus, leading to heartburn. Acid reflux accompanies a hiatus hernia, which occurs in children as a congenital defect, says MedlinePlus. Healthline clarifies there is no causal relationship between GERD and hiatus hernia.
The symptoms of a hiatus hernia include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, belching and occasional regurgitation. Occasionally, a hernia leads to bleeding when part of the stomach scrapes against the diaphragm, which necessitates urgent treatment, notes Drugs.com.