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Hernia, Hiatal

A hiatal hernia is a protrusion of a portion of the stomach through the muscular ring at the junction of the esophagus and stomach. Usually, this common occurrence causes no symptoms, but sometimes the lining of the protrusion becomes inflamed, causing heartburn, belching, distention, problems swallowing and regurgitation.

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Recommended Lifestyle Changes

If you have symptoms of reflux disease, follow the recommendations for GERD, especially the use of DGL. Here are some other lifestyle changes that can help:

  • If your symptoms are stronger at night, elevate the head of your bed by six to eight inches (to prevent stomach acid from refluxing while you’re lying down).
  • Try to avoid drugs that can make reflux worse by decreasing the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter. These drugs include calcium channel blockers, nitrates, sedatives and theophylline. Peppermint can have the same undesirable effect.

Conventional doctors typically prescribe acid-suppressive drugs. I recommend using them only short-term or not at all, as they have significant side effects, are not intended for long-term use, treat the problem superficially, and cause rebound increase in acid production when you stop taking them.

Nutrition and Supplements

  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. If you do take an occasional drink, be sure to eat something first.
  • Avoid coffee and decaffeinated coffee. Caffeine can aggravate symptoms. Substitute chamomile tea, which is soothing.
  • Experiment with foods to see which ones trigger your symptoms and avoid any that do.
  • Don’t eat within two to three hours of bedtime, and don’t lie down after meals.
  • Eat frequent small meals rather than three large ones.