WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A hiatal hernia is a condition that causes part of your stomach to bulge through a hiatus (hole) in your diaphragm. The part of the stomach may move up and down, or it may get trapped above the diaphragm.
- Antacids: These medicines decrease stomach acid that can irritate your esophagus and stomach.
- Histamine type-2 receptor blocker: This is also called an H2-blocker. It stops acid from being produced in the stomach.
- Proton pump inhibitor: This is also called a PPI. It blocks acid from being made in the stomach.
- Promotility agents: These medicines cause the sphincter, between the bottom part of the esophagus and the stomach, to contract (tighten) more. These medicines may cause miscarriages and should not be taken by pregnant women.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or gastroenterologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Food: You may not be able to eat solid food for a period of time. You may need to avoid the foods that make your symptoms worse. Ask your primary healthcare provider or dietician to help you determine which foods you can eat. Eat small, frequent meals. Avoid lying down and bending over after you eat.
- Take antacids: These medicines may decrease the acid in the esophagus and stomach and stop heartburn. Some antacids may be bought without a doctor's order. Check with your primary healthcare provider before you try any of these medicines.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your primary healthcare provider what your weight should be. If you are overweight, weight loss may help relieve hiatal hernia symptoms, such as heartburn.
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol may make your heartburn worse.
- Stop smoking: Smoking can increase your symptoms of heartburn.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or gastroenterologist if:
- Your symptoms are getting worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You feel very full and cannot burp or vomit.
- You have severe chest pain and trouble breathing all of a sudden.
- Your bowel movements are black or bloody.
- Your vomit looks like coffee grounds or has blood in it.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.