A hiatus hernia is when part of your stomach moves up into your chest. It’s very common if you’re over 50. It doesn’t normally need treatment if it’s not causing you problems.
You can have a hiatus hernia without knowing and without it being a problem.
With a hiatus hernia you may:
- have a painful burning feeling in your chest, often after eating (heartburn)
- bring up small amounts of food or bitter-tasting fluids (acid reflux)
- have bad breath
- burp and feel bloated
- feel or be sick
- have difficulty or pain when swallowing
These are the symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).
WHAT CAUSES A HIATUS HERNIA?
It’s not clear what causes a hiatus hernia. Anyone can have one, but it’s more common if you’re over 50, pregnant or overweight.
SURGERY FOR A HIATUS HERNIA
Keyhole surgery is usually used for a hiatus hernia – this involves making small cuts in your tummy (abdomen). It’s done under general anaesthetic, so you’ll be asleep during the operation.
After surgery it usually takes:
- 2 to 3 days to go home
- 3 to 6 weeks to go back to work
- 6 weeks before you can eat what you want
- a few months to recover from side effects like bloating, burping, farting and difficulty swallowing
There’s a small risk (about 1 in 100) that your side effects won’t go away and you’ll need more surgery.
Read more about hernia repair surgery here.