Some hiatal hernias may not cause symptoms. However, other hiatal hernias can cause symptoms like heartburn, pain in the chest area, bloated or heavy feeling in the abdomen after eating, swallowing problems and dark stool associated with bleeding in the intestines, relates Mayo Clinic. These symptoms often are associated with a large hernia.
To treat a hiatal hernia, it must be diagnosed first with tests, such as a barium X-ray and endoscopy. These tests can help to identify the type of hernia. The treatment options for a hiatal hernia can be medications or surgery. A medication, such as a proton pump inhibitor that is used to control the acid production of the stomach, can help with symptoms like heartburn. However, surgery may be an option when medications fail, there is bleeding due to an ulcer, or there is a serious complication, reports MedicineNet.
A hiatal hernia can develop when a portion of the stomach pushes up through the hiatus and into the diaphragm. The hiatus is a small aperture found in the diaphragm. There are two different forms of hiatal hernias that can occur in people, which are sliding and paraesophageal hiatal hernias, explains WebMD. The difference in the these two forms is that in a sliding hernia a portion of both the stomach and esophagus move into the diaphragm, while a paraesophageal hernia involves only a section of the stomach protruding through the hiatus.