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Hiatal Hernia

    When to call the doctor
  • When the symptoms of hiatal hernia are new, persistent (won't go away), or severe
  • When it is not clear what is causing your symptoms
When to go to the hospital
  • When you have chest pressure or pain, especially if you have known heart disease or these coronary risk factors: diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, blood pressure, older than 55 years, male gender, or family history of early heart attacks or angina (before age 55 years)
  • Vomiting blood
  • Dark, tarry stools
  • Palpitations (feel heart beating in your chest) or feeling faint
  • Cough and fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to swallow solid food or liquids easily
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Self-Care at Home

Lifestyle changes are often necessary to avoid symptoms of hiatal hernia.

  • Modify your activities:
    • Minimize heavy lifting, straining, bending over.
    • Improve seated posture ; don't slouch.
    • exercise more.
    • weight loss.
    • Sleep on an incline, with head of bed raised 4-6 inches on blocks.
    • Choose standing activities after a meal rather than sitting or reclining.
  • Modify your diet. Avoid the following:
    • Caffeine
    • Chocolate
    • Fried or fatty foods
    • Peppermint
    • Alcohol
    • Meals within 2-3 hours of bedtime
    • Large meals (eat smaller meals more frequently)
  • Try over-the-counter remedies. Check with your doctor or pharmacist first if you are taking other medications, are pregnant, or have other medical conditions, before starting therapy at home.
    • Antacids such as Mylanta, Maalox, Gaviscon, or Tums for acute symptoms
    • Antacids such as Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid, or Axid to prevent symptoms
Prevention
  • weight loss, if overweight.
  • Avoid excessive straining, bending, and slouching.
  • Try the other lifestyle changes suggested under Self-Care at Home.

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