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Hiatal Hernia

👤by MedicineNet.com 0 comments 🕔Monday, October 21st, 2013

A hiatal hernia is an anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm and up into the chest. Although hiatal hernias are present in approximately 15% of the population, they are associated with symptoms in only a minority of those afflicted.

Normally, the esophagus or food tube passes down through the chest, crosses the diaphragm, and enters the abdomen through a hole in the diaphragm called the esophageal hiatus. Just below the diaphragm, the esophagus joins the stomach. In individuals with hiatal hernias, the opening of the esophageal hiatus (hiatal opening) is larger than normal, and a portion of the upper stomach slips up or passes (herniates) through the hiatus and into the chest. Although hiatal hernias are occasionally seen in infants where they probably have been present from birth, most hiatal hernias in adults are believed to have developed over many years.

It is thought that hiatal hernias are caused by a larger-than-normal esophageal hiatus, the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes from the chest into the abdomen; as a result of the large opening, part of the stomach "slips" into the chest. Other potentially contributing factors include:

Hiatal Hernia and Exercise

Medical Author: Dr. Jay W. MarksMedical Editor Dr. Dennis Lee

A Viewer Asks: I am wondering if exercise will help with a hiatal hernia?

Dr. Marks Answers: Exercise has no effect on hiatal hernias. Exercise, however, can increase acid refluxin people who are prone to acid reflux, presumably those individuals with weak lower esophageal sphincter muscles. (

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