Are the feelings of anxiety, reflux, belching, getting full fast, shallow breathing, or flatulence familiar to you? These are all common symptoms of hiatal hernia syndrome, one of the most common functional GI complaints.
Hiatal hernia syndrome is when part of the stomach causes upward pressure against the diaphragm and causes an out-pouching effect of the stomach.
In a true hiatal hernia, you would see out-pouching on medical imaging, but imaging doesn't notice hiatal hernias they are 2-3 cm large! When hiatal hernias are 3 cm or smaller, they can still causes symptoms even though an image may not show it. So how do you know if you have one?
There is a functional test developed by Dr. Failor to test for hiatal hernia syndrome. I learned this method from one of his students, Dr. Steven Sandberg-Lewis. The test is a physical exam that checks for tenderness at the functional hiatal hernia point. Depending on the tenderness level, this is an easy check to see if you have hiatal hernia syndrome.
If you test positive, the treatment is easy. The doctor performs a visceral manipulation, which means gentle traction on the stomach to pull it below the diaphragm. The entire maneuver takes 3-5 minutes. You may notice you feel better immediately!
In terms of preventing hiatal hernia syndrome, it is important to address lifestyle and emotional factors that may be contributing. We talk about correct breathing patterns, food hygiene, safe lifting, and evaluate stomach acid levels. We also prescribe exercises to help the hiatal hernia maneuver hold for longer and keep you well.
Feel free to contact me for more information about hiatal hernia syndrome!