What Is a Hiatal Hernia?
The diaphragm has a modest opening that allows for the esophagus to pass through the stomach. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach pushes through the hiatus or diaphragm causing a protrusion in that area. Thankfully, there are effective hiatal hernia treatments.
A small hiatal hernia might not result in any symptoms, but a large hiatal hernia can cause adverse symptoms like chest pain, abdominal pain, heartburn, and fatigue. There’s also a connection between a hiatal hernia and GERD—a hiatal hernia can actually provoke the symptoms of GERD because the protruding stomach makes it easier for digested food to wash back up into the esophagus.
Natural Remedies for Hiatal Hernia
Some people assume that surgery is the only means of treating a hiatal hernia. This is not true. In fact, there are many natural remedies available for treating a hiatal hernia. Some of the more popular remedies include:
1. Water: Drinking water first thing in the morning has been proven to reduce the symptoms of a hiatal hernia. A lukewarm glass of water before you get out of bed will add weight to your stomach, helping it to relax. Repeat this every morning until the symptoms are gone.
2. Exercise: Exercise is another natural remedy for treating a hiatal hernia. Try standing up, with your arms extended straight out to your sides. With your arms still extended, leave your mouth open and take short breaths for about 15 seconds. Next, bend your arms simultaneously until they touch your chest. You can also perform several toe lifts immediately after the first exercise.
3. Yoga: Yoga is a great natural remedy for hiatal hernias because it focuses on one’s core strength.
4. Apple cider vinegar: Because of its acidic nature, apple cider vinegar is one of the more effective natural treatments for a hiatal hernia. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a large glass of lukewarm water and drink it before a meal.
5. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a natural antacid that can help relieve abdominal pain and bloating. Adding half a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon to a cup of hot water should be effective. Drink the mixture twice a day.
6. Chamomile: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that can relax the muscles in the stomach. This makes it an effective natural treatment for a hiatal hernia. Mix one tablespoon of dry chamomile into a glass of hot water; drink four times a day.
Hiatal Hernia Diet Plan
A hiatal hernia can sometimes result in pain and discomfort, but changing your diet can make a difference. The food you eat doesn’t necessarily have to be completely bland or tasteless, but you should definitely avoid certain types of food that incites unpleasant symptoms.
The worst foods to consume if you have a hiatal hernia include:
- Deep fried foods
- Fatty meats
- Grapefruit, lemon, or cranberry juice
- Coffee and tea
- Cottage cheese and yogurt
- Ice cream
- Spicy foods
- Tomato based foods
- Dairy products
While this list of foods may seem somewhat extensive, there are foods included in the hiatal hernia diet that can help reduce or prevent symptoms.
The best foods to consume if you have a hiatal hernia include:
- Green beans
- Apples and bananas
- Fat free cheese
- Soy milk or skim milk
- Chicken and fish
- Carrots and broccoli
Lifestyle Changes to Make If You Have a Hiatal Hernia
You may have to make some diet and lifestyle changes to treat symptoms of your hiatal hernia. Try the following:
- Quit smoking
- Eat smaller portions of food throughout the day
- Drink water before meals and not during
- Avoid lying down on a full stomach
- Avoid activities that put excess strain on your abdomen
A hiatal hernia is treatable if you are prepared to take action. Depending on how serious the hiatal hernia is, you may be able to avoid surgery if you utilize some of the natural remedies I’ve mentioned. Some diet and lifestyle changes may be difficult to do, but they will give you a better chance at managing the symptoms of a hiatal hernia.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Home Remedies for Hiatal Hernia,” Earth Clinic web site, last modified January 2, 2016; http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/hiatal-hernia.html, last accessed January 11, 2016.
“Home Remedies for Hiatal Hernias,” Top 10 Home Remedies web site; http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-hiatal-hernias.html, last accessed January 11, 2016.
“Hiatal Hernia Diet Tips,” WebMD web site, http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/hiatal-hernia-diet-tips, last accessed January 11, 2016.
Rain, E., “Diet for Hiatal Hernia,” LoveToKnow web site; http://diet.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Diet_for_Hiatal_Hernia, last accessed January 11, 2016.