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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A hiatal hernia is a condition that causes part of your stomach to bulge through the hiatus (small opening) in your diaphragm. The part of the stomach may move up and down, or it may get trapped above the diaphragm.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You try to vomit but nothing comes out (retching).
- You have severe chest pain and sudden trouble breathing.
- Your bowel movements are black or bloody.
- Your vomit looks like coffee grounds or has blood in it.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms are getting worse.
- You have nausea, and you are vomiting.
- You are losing weight without trying.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to relieve heartburn symptoms. These medicines help to decrease or block stomach acid. You may also be given medicines that help to tighten the esophageal sphincter.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your 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 healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse. These may include spicy foods, fruit juices, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and mint.
- Eat several small meals during the day. Small meals give your stomach less food to digest.
- Avoid lying down and bending forward after you eat. Do not eat meals 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. This decreases your risk for reflux.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, weight loss may help relieve your symptoms.
- Sleep with your head elevated at least 6 inches.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can increase your symptoms of heartburn.
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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.