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Hiatus hernia treatment

A hiatus hernia, also known as a hiatal hernia, happens when the upper part of your stomach pushes up into your chest. It’s more common if you’re over 50. It rarely produces noticeable symptoms and doesn’t always need treatment, but it can lead to acid reflux, which can be uncomfortable.

At our London hernia clinic, our expert Consultants specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of hiatus hernias and upper GI conditions.

What is a hiatus hernia?

Hiatus hernia treatment

A hiatus hernia is different from most hernias, in that it occurs within the chest (rather than the abdomen) and affects the digestive system.

It comes from the Greek “Hiatus”, which means “gap” or “hole”, and refers to the   hole that the oesophagus goes through to transport food to the stomach. When this hole is larger, the top of the stomach can move upwards into the chest.

There are two types of hiatus hernia:

  • Sliding hiatus hernia — Most people with a hiatus hernia have this type, where the stomach slides up and down, in and out of the chest area.
  • Rolling hernia – In 20% of cases, part of the stomach pushes up through the hole in the diaphragm and sits next to the gullet (oesophagus). This can also be called a strangulated hernia.

Hiatus hernia symptoms

Unlike an abdominal hernia, hiatus hernia rarely produce symptoms. This can make them particularly difficult to diagnose. However, if you do experience any symptoms they are likely to be as below.

  • Bile
  • Stomach acid
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Belching
  • Air entering the esophagus

Common triggers

  • Too hot foods or drink
  • Spicy foods
  • Acidic foods
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being overweight

Hiatus hernia treatment

The difficult part about fixing a hiatus hernia is that you can’t just close off the hole as a small gap must remain for the gullet to pass through.

Hiatus hernia surgery is usually done laparoscopically. Traditionally surgeons would use the ‘wrap around’ method, but now more and more are turning to procedures that involve mesh. Mesh repair is extremely technical and can be tricky to get right . The aim of the repair is to narrow the opening just the right amount. If the opening is left too wide the repair won’t prevent a further hiatal hernia. If the hole is closed too far the smooth transportation of food down the gullet will impaired . Alternative treatment can be provided to ease symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn for which medications may be provided.

Contact us

Our world-renowned Consultants have a wealth of experience treating hiatus hernias. They provide you with expert advice and the best possible treatment, should it be required.

To ask a question or book an appointment you can contact our team on 020 3370 1014 or email us at londonhernia@hje.org.uk.

ENT Consultants

Hernia Clinic

The Hernia Unit provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of all hernia types and can offer a number of surgery options depending on the individual needs of each patient.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 3370 1014.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

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