You may not have heard of a hiatal hernia before. If so, you’re not alone! It is a condition that can develop in anyone, but it is more likely after an abdominal surgery, such as gastric sleeve or bypass.
In this article, we will talk about what it is and how to prevent it from occurring or worsening. We will also discuss the most effective exercises for preventing a hiatal hernia from forming, as well as any special steps you can take to reduce your risk.
What Is a Hiatal Hernia?
It is a condition in which the stomach bulges up through the diaphragm and into the chest. The diaphragm is a muscle located between your chest and abdomen that helps you breathe. Normally, the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach) goes through an opening in the diaphragm. If you have a hiatal hernia, part of your stomach may protrude up through this opening.
This can cause several problems, such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and even asthma. In some cases, it can also lead to serious health complications.
How Is Hiatal Hernia Diagnosed?
There are several ways to determine if you have a hiatal hernia. One of the most common methods is to take an X-ray, which should be able to clearly show if your stomach has moved up through your diaphragm. However, there are other symptoms that might indicate it as well! These include:
- Chest pain or discomfort, especially after eating
- Heartburn accompanied by hoarseness and shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing solid foods
- Feeling like food isn’t fully digested due to regurgitation (when contents from the esophagus come back into the mouth)
- Asthma attacks caused by heartburn.
If you experience any of these issues on a regular basis, make sure to tell your doctor so they can determine if you have a hiatal hernia.
Exercises to Prevent Hiatal Hernias
Hernia-proofing your core muscles by strengthening them is key to preventing this type of hernia, even if it’s genetic. A strong ab musculature will protect against small tears in the diaphragm, which lead to large problems down the line!
Core stability exercises such as planks and side planks & bridges strengthen not only your abs but also all four sides of your torso. Flexibility training for these muscle groups improves functionality, including daily activities like walking upstairs or getting out of bed. Aerobic activity strengthens heart function, which pumps oxygenated blood around our body. When our body is functioning better, we feel better!
Read about diet after hernia surgery.