Hiatus hernia - Complications 

Complications of a hiatus hernia 

Complications from a hiatus hernia are rare, but they can be serious.

Hiatus hernias that slide in and out of the chest area (sliding hiatus hernias) can cause gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). This is where stomach acid leaks into the oesophagus (gullet). This can damage the oesophagus, increasing the risk of the problems described below.

Oesophageal ulcers

Damage to the lining of the oesophagus (oesophagitis) caused by stomach acid can lead to the formation of ulcers. The ulcers can bleed, causing pain and making swallowing difficult.

Ulcers can usually be successfully treated by controlling the underlying symptoms of GORD. In most cases, over-the-counter medicines called antacids or alginates are used to treat the condition.

Read more about treating GORD.

Oesophageal stricture

Repeated damage to the lining of your oesophagus can lead to the formation of scar tissue. If the scar tissue is allowed to build up, it can cause your oesophagus to become narrowed. This is known as oesophageal stricture.

An oesophageal stricture can make swallowing food difficult and painful. Oesophageal strictures can be treated by using a tiny balloon to dilate (widen) the oesophagus. This procedure is usually carried out under a local anaesthetic.

Barrett's oesophagus and cancer

Repeated damage to the oesophagus can also lead to changes in the cells lining your lower oesophagus. This is a condition known as Barrett's oesophagus.

Barrett's oesophagus does not usually cause noticeable symptoms other than those associated with GORD.

However, Barrett's oesophagus can increase your risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

Strangulated hernia

In some cases, a hiatus hernia causes part of the stomach to push up next to the oesophagus. This is known as a para-oesophageal hiatus hernia. GORD doesn't usually occur in these cases, but there is a risk of the hernia becoming strangulated.

Strangulation occurs when the hernia becomes knotted and the blood supply to the area is cut off. Emergency surgery is usually required to correct the problem.

Page last reviewed: 09/04/2013

Next review due: 09/04/2015


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The 6 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

tres01 said on 06 November 2013

To moggie57 - I found that the bowel problems associated with hiatus hernia is the result of increased acid in the stomach that is resolved within three to four days by taking lansoprazole first thing in the morning. I found that we I reduce my weight and exercise I did not need it.

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hernia_fighter said on 02 October 2013

Ladies and Gents
I know how much you guys suffer because I am one you guys, I had been suffering sliding hiatus hernia for the last 5 years. I was at a stage I couldnt even breath, I had a terrible chest pain, even though before this condition I was very active after it has started I became more and more fatigue, constant chest infections were killing me, I was at a stage antibiotics stopped working, I saw my life sliding away and up until that moment Drs and modern medicine treated me for Allergies and Asthma and until my gorgeous wife has discovered the problem, right now my condition is stabilized 90% of my symptoms and problems disappeared. Here is what I do , please be patient, trust in yourself and follow what I exactly tell you, within a few weeks you will see major changes.

When you wake up every morning have a glass of warm water, warm water relaxes the muscles of your esophageal pipe and stomach and makes it sag, so stand upright raise on your toes and drop on your heel, I do this at least 15 times every morning.

Your diet plays a major role, it is a tough diet but doable, you need to eat only raw food such as fruits and veggies but make sure they are raw. I eat couple of kilos of fruits everyday, mainly watermelon, apples pears etc...

Keep yourselves constantly alkaline, your problem is as you have this condition you become acidic so you need to be alkaline and stay away from anything that makes you acidic.

And the last one is breathing, you need to get your diaphragm strong, check on you tube you will find and have a chance to observe this method of breathing.

There are also a few exercised that you can use, they are all on you tube, search for the information.

Good luck to you all

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SirAsh86 said on 17 September 2013

further more from my last comment im struggling to swallow whether its hard food or things like mash. Seriously getting to me bow!

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SirAsh86 said on 17 September 2013

I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia back in June of this year & confirmed with the camera down my throat. Had biopsies taken for Barretts as well. During the last 5 months especially & since December 2012 Iv had chest pains & shortness of breath literally likke im being strangled, on top of this iv having an awful lot of acid in my mouth, burning in my stomach at times & pain in my stomach, left side, behind my left shoulder blade/ centrally& feeling sick most if not all the time. The barretts biopsy was clear confirmed today & the specialist said that they will double my omeperazole from 40mg to 80mg to see if it helps but im being referred to a gastro specialist now. I feel im being lead around the houses here, Im 27 struggling to keep weight on, being sick at times, getting breathless just doing the simplest of things & getting awful pains in my chest. Any advice would help iv already adapted my diet because lots of food worsen then acid & the doubling up stomach pains... HELP!!

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Bowlerpat said on 17 August 2013

Hi moggie57 I'm having the same problems as you,swallowing a big problem,going to the toliet very bad pains in ribs a swell.hiatus hernia not getting any better, plus very bad hickups all the time as well, coughing up a lot of blood as well and doctors not doing nothing for me besides me going around in circles to with the same answers

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moggie57 said on 23 April 2013

recently i am having trouble swallowing again .i have a fixed hiatus hernia a fibrotic stricture/stenosis. i have an awful pain in my left ribs ,this is constant.. i do have bowel problems too.my doctor has ordered another barium swallow .even though i have told her my symptoms.i feel like i'm going round in circles ,she says its all in my mind .and i'm constantly tired..

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