Whenever an internal part of the body is pushed in a location where it should not belong, hernia will occur. One type of hernia is called hiatal hernia. It is a hernia that happens in the muscular wall opening of the diagram called hiatus. It separates the abdomen from the cavity of the chest. In normal circumstances, the food pipe or the esophagus goes via the hiatus and connects to your stomach. In cases where an individual has hiatal hernia, his or her stomach swells up to the chest via the opening. Hernias are incredibly painful debilitating conditions that can be managed but often may need surgery. However, there are several home remedies for hiatal hernia that you can try to cure the hernia yourself.
The symptoms of Hiatal Hernia will be largely dependent on the type of hernia that the individual has. There are basically two types of hiatal hernia but both types are caused when the stomach is out of place relative to the diaphragm and esophagus.
- Paraesophageal Hiatal Hernia
This hiatal hernia is least common. However, it poses a greater threat compared to the sliding hiatal hernia. With paraesophageal hiatal hernia, the stomach and the esophagus stay in their usual areas, but a section of the stomach congests in the hiatus, settling it right next to the food pipe or esophagus. Paraesophageal hiatal hernia may occur without symptoms at all. That said, the danger of having a strangled stomach is still present. This may even further lead to blocked blood supply.
- Sliding Hiatal Hernia
This type of hiatal hernia occurs when a part of the esophagus joining the stomach and the stomach itself slides up to the chest area via the hiatus. This is the most common kind of hiatal hernia experienced by individuals.
For most people, hernia are transient and temporary as the stomach eventually settles back into its normal poisition. Many individuals with small hiatal hernia do not often experience severe symptoms and may even confuse the condition with a bout of heartburn.
However, for those with larger hernias, the signs and symptoms of hiatal hernia include the following:
- Heartburn due to GERD or GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease.
- Abdominal or chest pain due to heartburn
- Swallowing difficulties
- Vomiting of blood due to gastrointestinal bleeding
- Black-colored stools related to gastrointestinal bleeding
- Inability to pass bowel or gas due to obstructed hernia
If you are experiencing the symptoms of hiatal hernia, you are probably wondering want you have done to cause the problem, but alas the root cause remains unknown. There are instances when an individual is born having a bigger hiatal opening thus rendering a higher risk of experiencing hiatal hernia. Others experience hiatal hernia due to increased abdominal pressure related to obesity, pregnancy, bowel straining, or coughing. Other possible causes may include injury in the area and pressure while lifting objects that are heavy.
But there is no specific cause of hiatal hernia, just that some individuals will be more prone than other. There is evidence though that those people who have higher risks of experiencing hiatal hernia include women, overweight individuals, and those who are aged 50 and above.
If you are suffering from the symptoms, it is advisable to consult medical advice as the hernia may not correct itself with time and indeed lead to further complications (1). However, there are plenty of home remedies for hiatal hernia listed below which you can try to relieve the symptoms of hiatal hernia.
Home Remedies for Hiatal Hernia
- Abdominal Self-Massage
Massage has been deemed to have many benefits that include pain and stress relief, especially for abdominal issues such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Performing abdominal self-massage largely targets the abdominal cavity’s uppermost section thereby providing relief from discomfort as well as hiatal hernia symptoms. To perform a simple abdominal self-massage, follow the steps below:
- Look for a flat surface to lie on. This could be your bed or on the floor.
- Assume a supine position by lying on your back. Try to be as relax as possible.
- Locate your sternum or your breastbones and put your finger below this area.
- Apply a moderate pressure and slowly move your fingers towards your navel or belly button. Remember to maintain moderate pressure as you slide your fingers down.
- Do this for 5 whole minutes.
- Perform the abdominal self-massage two times a day, preferably in the morning and in the evening.
Aloe Vera is famous for its many natural uses. It recognized to be useful in treating issues related to the digestive health such as constipation, colic, and hiatal hernia. Aloe Vera helps soothe the intestines’ inner linings while also reducing abdominal pain. Aside from that, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it also lessens inflammation thereby managing heartburn effectively. To take advantage of Aloe Vera’s effects, you can prepare the following:
- Find a fresh Aloe Vera leaf and extract its gel from it.
- In a blender, add a couple of tablespoons of the extracted gel and blend until thin. Never use more than a couple of tablespoons to avoid diarrhea.
- Prepare one cup of fresh orange juice and add it in the blended Aloe Vera gel.
- You may add one cup of water too if you wish.
- Blend all of these for about a minute and pour in a cup when ready.
- Consume quarter of a cup of the Aloe Vera juice 20 minutes prior eating your main meal.
Apple cider vinegar is an outstanding remedy that will help decrease hiatal hernia symptoms, especially acidity as well as heartburn. A study made in 2015, has showed that heartburn related to GERD has been slightly reduced with raw apple cider vinegar intake. Though apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic, it remarkably creates an alkaline effect to your body. To make use of apple cider vinegar in managing hiatal hernia, follow the steps below:
- Prepare a glass of water, use warm or lukewarm, and add a couple teaspoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
- Slowly take sips prior your meals.
- You may do this whenever you experience acidity or heartburn.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is not just for baking, it can also be used as an organic antacid and is great home remedy for hiatal hernia. Baking soda can give fast relief to one of the most common symptoms of hiatal hernia – heartburn. However, this remedy is not recommended for individuals who have blood pressure higher than normal. To use baking soda for heartburn relief:
- Prepare a glass of lukewarm water and mix half a teaspoon baking soda.
- Mix it well and drink it straightaway.
- You may repeat taking the mixture as needed, but do not take it excessively.
Chamomile is popular for managing inflammations. This makes it a terrific remedy for hiatal hernia. It aids in comforting an achy stomach, soothing digestive tract muscles, as well as treating heartburn. This is however not advisable to individuals who are allergic to the daisy family (Asteraceae). To use chamomile as tea for hiatal hernia:
- Prepare dried chamomile flowers, about a teaspoon in amount and mix it in 1 cup of warm or hot water.
- Cover the cup with a saucer and let it steep for about 5 minutes.
- Strain the dried chamomile from the tea. You may add honey to sweeten it up a bit.
- Sip your chamomile tea while it is warm. You can drink as much as 4 cups per day, preferably in between your meals.
Cinnamon is well known spice that is also used as a natural remedy for stomachaches. It has the properties that can soothe and relieve bloating as well as abdominal pain. Cinnamon could also work as an antacid. It can be taken as tea or it can be added to your recipes. As tea, you can prepare cinnamon as follows:
- Mix half a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon to one cup hot water.
- Cover your cup and let the tea steep for several minutes.
- Drink your cinnamon tea while it is warm. You can take as much as 2 to 3 times of cinnamon tea per day.
The Slippery Elm is an herb that is also found effective in treating hiatal hernia. It aids in easing heartburn as well as the acidity of the stomach by coating the stomach with mucilage. Moreover, it also has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that are best in combatting digestive issues. To use Slippery Elm as tea, prepare as follows:
- In a cup of warm water, add about a tablespoon of slippery elm bark powder.
- Set aside and allow steeping for 10 minutes.
- You may drink the tea for a couple of times per day. It is most effective is taken after meals.
- Warm Water Remedy
Drinking water has always brought so many great benefits. In particular, warm water in the morning followed by a simple exercise could do wonders in managing hiatal hernia. Nevertheless, how does warm water and exercise help? The warm water serves as weight and stomach relaxant. It also promotes sufficient blood flow thereby soothing your stressed stomach. On the other hand, doing the exercises help stretch your diaphragm as well as open up your hiatus. As you drop down, the jolt helps pull out the stomach from your hiatus while the panting will help in tightening the diaphragm and closing up the hiatus. Here is how to do it:
- As soon as you wake up, make sure to drink a glass of water, which is either at room temperature or one that is slightly warmer. This will relax the muscles in your stomach and your diaphragm.
- After a few minutes, stand up and do a straight arm lift from the sides. Bend the elbows as well as so that your hands are touching your chest. Doing this will aid in stretching your diaphragm as well as opening your hiatus.
- Then, as high as you possibly can, rise on your toes and do a rapid drop down on the heels of your feet. Repeat this several times. Doing this will aid in pulling the stomach down using the weight of the water.
- Finally, end the routine by standing straight and arms raised up. Perform short and rapid breaths with an open mouth. Do this for about 15 seconds. This step is similar to panting. Panting assists in tightening your diaphragm as well as closing the hiatus.
An important note to remember is that this should be using warm water only – not warm water and juice or warm water and coffee – just plain warm water.
Yoga for Hiatal Hernia
Another great remedy for alleviating discomfort and pain brought about by hiatal hernia is Yoga. However, not all Yoga poses are advised for individuals with hiatal hernia. Some Yoga poses such as Bow, Bridge, Boat, and Cobra put too much unwanted pressure on the abdomen. Therefore, these poses are not advisable. On the other hand, Yoga poses such as the Chair, Wind-Relieving, and Raised Legs poses can aid in strengthening the stomach and diaphragm muscles.
- Stand up and make sure your back is straight. Raise your arms high above the head and ensure that your feet are at hip’s width away from each other.
- Bend forward in a 45° angle. Take the chest to the thighs, but keep the arms straight and aligned with the back. Make certain that your palms are facing downwards to the floor.
- Also, bend your knees gently similar to when you are about to take a seat on a chair.
- Press some weight downwards. Maintain looking forward and hold that pose for several seconds. Do not forget to take deep breaths along with it.
- Press the shoulder blades to the back while lowering the tailbone down. Draw in the abdomen as well. Hold the pose down for about half a minute and concentrate on breathing.
- Slowly rise up and straighten your back.
- Do the routine several times.
- Lie down facing up. Maintain a straight spine as much as you can.
- Bring your right knee slowly to your chest.
- Hug your right knee with both of your hands. Retain this pose for about 5 seconds.
- Do normal breathings while you count.
- Go back to the starting pose repeat the process with your left leg.
Raised Legs Pose
The raised legs pose helps in toning the muscles in your abdomen while also averting constipation. Moreover, it encourages quicker fat burning.
- Lie on the floor facing upwards.
- Place both of your pals on the region of the hernia.
- Lift both of your legs slowly in a 40° angle upward position.
- Retain this pose for 10 seconds and breathe normally while you do so.
- Slowly, put your feet down to the floor in a careful and smooth movement.
- Good foods for Hiatal Hernia Diet
Finally, it is advised that individuals suffering from hiatal hernia should do diet and lifestyle modification.. Specifically, there are foods to avoid for GERD sufferers and you should consider developing a full GERD diet plan.
Here are some tips to help you out:
- Stay away from foods that may cause heartburn. These foods include caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits, fried foods, garlic, onions, spicy foods, and foods which are tomato-based.
- Consume a lot of vegetables and fruits
- Lean meat is okay to take as well.
- Include health fats in your diet. This will include nuts and olive oil.
- Foods that are whole-grained are also advisable.
11. Lifestyle tips for managing Hiatal Hernia
- Steer clear from large meals. Instead, consume smaller meals all throughout your day.
- Take your last meal at least 3 to 4 hours prior sleeping.
- If you are obese or overweight, do your best to lose those extra pounds.
- If you can avoid consuming alcohol completely, do so. If not, make sure you limit alcohol intake.
- Avoid smoking tobacco or cigarette.
- When sleeping, elevate your head to avoid acidity as well as heartburn.
- After having your meal, do not bend or lie down immediately.
- You may take a short walk after you have taken your meal.
- Never strain when moving bowels.
- Avoid wearing constricting clothing around the torso. Choose loose and comfortable ones instead.