Shortness of breath is a hiatal hernia symptom, along with other symptoms such as bloating or difficulty swallowing, according to WebMD. However, there are usually no symptoms, says MedlinePlus.
Other symptoms include regurgitation, heartburn and chest pain that radiates from beneath the breastbone, according to WebMD. In people who are already being treated for a hiatal hernia or for heartburn, signs that a hernia is in need of emergency medical attention include sudden stomach or chest pain, difficult swallowing, vomiting and an inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement. These symptoms could mean the hernia has become strangulated or obstructed, which requires immediate medical attention.