If you have a sliding hiatus hernia but have no symptoms because of it, there is no need to treat it.

If you are experiencing heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux because of your sliding hiatus hernia, you may require treatment to relieve your symptoms. In this case, the treatment will be the same as for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

Modifying your lifestyle to treat sliding hiatus hernia

The first step in treating heartburn because of a hiatus hernia involves changes to your lifestyle. For some people, just changing a few bad habits can relieve their symptoms. The following is a list of things that you can do yourself to alleviate your symptoms.

  • Raise the head of your bed at least six inches. This means placing blocks under the bed frame at the head of your bed. Simply raising your head with pillows will not work. Propping yourself up with pillows causes you to bend at the waist which increases your abdominal pressure – something that contributes to acid reflux! However, a foam wedge placed under the head of your mattress that raises your head about six to ten inches may be as effective as blocks under the bed frame. By raising your head, you are taking advantage of gravity to prevent the reflux of acid into your esophagus.
  • Avoid or limit the foods that can lead to acid reflux. Foods to avoid include fatty or greasy foods, fatty meats, chocolate, drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, cola), peppermint or spearmint, alcohol, spicy foods, citrus juice, acidic fruits and vegetables (apples, tomatoes, green pepper) and carbonated beverages.
  • If you are overweight, reducing your weight may improve your symptoms (and make you healthier!).
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing, which can increase the pressure in your abdomen.
  • Don’t eat or drink anything for at least two hours prior to going to bed.
  • Don’t lie down or bend over immediately after eating.
  • If you smoke, quitting can help alleviate your symptoms. (Not to mention all the other health advantages of quitting smoking!)
  • Eat more frequent, smaller meals instead of three large meals.
  • If possible, avoid medications that may lead to the symptoms by irritating the esophagus. These include A.S.A., ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory drugs, doxycycline, tetracycline, quinidine, potassium chloride and iron supplements. Other medications may cause the esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing acid from the stomach into the esophagus. These medications include theophylline, calcium channel blockers, nitrates, anticholinergics, antidepressants and progesterone.

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