A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm. Your diaphragm normally has a small opening (hiatus) through which your food tube (esophagus) passes on its way to connect to your stomach. The stomach can push up through this opening and cause a hiatal hernia.
In most cases, a small hiatal hernia doesn't cause problems, and you may never know you have a hiatal hernia unless your doctor discovers it when checking for another condition.
But a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid to back up into your esophagus, leading to heartburn. Self-care measures or medications can usually relieve these symptoms, although a very large hiatal hernia sometimes requires surgery.
Feb. 03, 2015
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 6, 2015.
- Kahrilas PJ. Hiatus hernia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 7, 2015.
- Townsend CM Jr, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 7, 2015.
- Yeo CJ. Shackelford's Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 7, 2015.
- Mahawar KK, et al. Simultaneous sleeve gastrectomy and hiatus hernia repair: A systematic review. Obesity Surgery. 2015;25:159.
- Katz PO, et al. Corrigendum: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:308.
- Guidelines for the management of hiatal hernia. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. http://www.sages.org/publications/guidelines/guidelines-for-the-management-of-hiatal-hernia/. Accessed Jan. 7, 2015.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 26, 2014.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 9, 2015.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 18, 2015.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 10, 2015.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.