Those that suffer from the painful symptoms of a hiatus hernia know that finding relief can sometimes be difficult. Many turn to prescription medications in order to control their symptoms. There are now an increasing number of people choosing to empower themselves with the information necessary to find natural home remedies and lifestyle changes that provide gentler solutions to controlling their symptoms.
Causes and Symptoms
A hiatus hernia occurs at the opening in the diaphragm where the oesophagus joins the stomach. A hernia is a protrusion of the lining of the stomach into this opening. Small hernias usually go unnoticed and may not require any treatment. Larger protrusions can cause digestive problems and should be treated. Untreated hernias can cause food and acid to back up into the oesophagus. This can lead to symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, nausea and excessive burping.
Severe hiatus hernias will usually require surgery to remove the protrusion and repair the stomach lining. However, surgery is usually the last resort after more conventional treatments such as diet and lifestyle changes have failed to resolve or control the problem.
Certain foods have been known to irritate hiatus hernias more than others. Spicy or fried foods are the biggest offenders because they increase the production of acid in the already irritated stomach lining. They also cause the stomach to bloat which increases pressure on the hernia. Avoiding these foods can decrease the symptoms.
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks should be avoided as much as possible. All of these cause increased acid production and bloating as well as irritation to the stomach lining. Instead drink plenty of water to cleanse the oesophagus and the stomach.
Honey is a natural healer. It reduces inflammation and soothes irritation. Mixing one teaspoon of honey in a glass of water and drinking it helps to coat the irritated area and decrease the symptoms.
An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, it can also keep away the symptoms of a hiatus hernia. Consuming a red apple daily has been known to reduce symptoms in some people.
Along with diet changes, there are several physical changes that may need to be made as well. Being overweight puts added pressure on the stomach. Losing weight can actually play a big part in reducing hernia symptoms.
When you eat may be as important as what you eat. Avoid eating a meal at least three hours before going to bed. This will allow the stomach enough time to empty into the intestine. When the stomach is empty it can not flow back up into the oesophagus, causing acid indigestion.
Elevating the head of the bed while sleeping can also help. This causes gravity to keep any acid in the stomach from moving back up into the oesophagus during sleep.
When treating the symptoms of a hiatus hernia it is imperative to wear clothes that fit properly. Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, especially around the midsection of the body. Tight clothes put pressure on the stomach, causing pain. Loose fitting clothes allow adequate room for the stomach.
Finally, take time to relax. When stress levels are high, digestion levels slow and stomach acid levels rise. Deep breathing techniques and meditation can ease the mind. Moderate exercise such as walking and yoga can help to remove unwanted stress from the body and relieve tension