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How To Live With a Hiatal Hernia

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Updated March 26, 2013

A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through an opening in the diaphragm, and up into the chest. This opening is called the esophageal hiatus or diaphragmatic hiatus. If you've been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, you'll need to know how to live with it.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: N/A

Here's How:

  1. Eat 6 small meals instead of 3 big meals.

  2. Don't eat or drink anything 1 to 2 hours before going to bed.

  3. Avoid foods that are known to increase heartburn.

  4. Avoid bending over soon after eating.

  5. Avoid alcohol.

  6. Use an antacid.

  7. Sleep with your head and shoulder on an incline.

  8. Don't wear clothing that constricts the stomach.

  9. Don't smoke.

  10. Avoid activities that cause abdominal strain.

Tips:

  1. Before you eat out at a restaurant, learn what foods you can eat that have little risk of causing heartburn. You can see what these foods are with this safe foods chart.

  2. There are some foods you should avoid in your acid reflux diet, as they are known heartburn triggers. You can see what these foods are with this foods to avoid chart.

  3. Alcohol can have several unpleasant affects on heartburn sufferers. It is best to avoid alcohol as much as possible if you suffer from acid reflux. But there are a few tips that may make it possible for you to enjoy alcoholic beverages if consumed in moderation.

  4. Smoking stimulates the production of stomach acid, and can weaken and relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which can allow stomach contents to reflux back up into the esophagus. If you suffer from acid reflux, you should stop smoking for other reasons.

  5. When you have a hiatal hernia, you will likely experience heartburn. The first step to controlling your heartburn is to record what may trigger your attacks, the severity of the attacks, how your body reacts, and what gives you relief. You can use this heartburn record as an example of what to record.

    Sources:
    "Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)." NIH Publication No. 07–0882 May 2007. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NIDDK). 27 Jul 2007

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  5. Hiatal Hernia - How To Live With a Hiatal Hernia

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