How to Identify Symptoms of a Strangulated Hiatal Hernia

By Carlye Jones

Normally, a hiatal hernia is a minor problem, requiring only a change in dietary and eating habits, but if a hiatal hernia becomes strangulated it quickly becomes a life-threatening situation. Know how to identify symptoms of a strangulated hiatal hernia.

Learn the symptoms of a strangulated hiatal hernia. The symptoms can mimic some other medical conditions, including cardiac arrest. They include difficulty swallowing, chest pain, stomach pain, fever, vomiting, chills, weakness, bloating and swelling or tenderness at the site of the hernia. Excessive belching is also a symptom of a strangulated hernia.

Different people may experience different symptoms. You may experience only some of these symptoms or all of them. In either case, get medical treatment right away if you suspect a strangulated hiatal hernia.

Feel your hernia. If it is swollen, hard, tender, painful or protruding more than usual and you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in Step 1, you may have a strangulated hernia. Tenderness at the site of a hiatal hernia is a strong indicator that it is either strangulated or becoming strangulated.

Many people can not feel their hernias from the outside of their body. If your hiatal hernia becomes strangulated, you may feel pain and tenderness in the upper abdominal and/or chest area.

Listen to your body. You will know when it is telling you something is wrong. Is the pain or tenderness continuous, or does it come and go? Typically, the pain associated with a strangulated hiatal hernia is continuous and increases as time goes on. If the pain comes and goes, you may have a different problem. Is the pain lower in your abdomen, rather than your chest? It's possible you're experiencing another illness, such as food poisoning. In any case, if your hernia is painful or if you are experiencing severe pain anywhere, get medical treatment right away. The only "cure" for a strangulated hernia is surgery. An untreated strangulated hiatal hernia is deadly.

Tips

Get medical treatment immediately by calling an ambulance or going to the hospital if you suspect you have a strangulated hiatal hernia. If you are aware that you have a hiatal hernia, discuss with your health care provider the specific symptoms, risks and options for a strangulated hernia. Have a plan in place if your hiatal hernia progresses to strangulation.

Warnings

Don't wait until your hiatal hernia becomes strangulated to seek treatment. If you are having increasing problems or your hernia feels painful or hard or is causing pressure, go see your doctor.

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