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Hiatal Hernia in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

A hiatal hernia is a condition that causes part of your child's stomach to bulge through the hiatus (small opening) in his or her diaphragm. This part of the stomach may move up and down, or it may get trapped above the diaphragm. Your child may have been born with a large hiatus or with the hiatal hernia.

Hiatal Hernia


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


A dietitian may talk to you about foods your child should avoid to manage heartburn. If your child continues to have trouble swallowing, a swallowing therapist may teach your child a safer way to swallow. The swallowing therapist will also tell you what foods and liquids are safe to eat and drink.


is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give medicine or liquids.


  • Antacids decrease stomach acid that can irritate your child's esophagus and stomach.
  • A histamine type-2 receptor blocker (H2-blocker) stops acid from being produced in the stomach.
  • Promotility agents cause the esophageal sphincter to contract (tighten) more. The esophageal sphincter is the lower muscle of the esophagus.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) block acid from being made in the stomach.


  • An endoscopy uses a scope to see the inside of your child's digestive tract. A scope is a long, bendable tube with a light on the end of it. A camera may be hooked to the scope to take pictures.
    Upper Endoscopy (Child)
  • An upper GI series test includes x-rays of your child's esophagus, stomach, and small intestines. It is also called a barium swallow test. Your child will be given barium (a chalky liquid) to drink before the pictures are taken. This liquid helps your child's stomach and intestines show up better on the x-rays. An upper GI series can show if he or she has an ulcer, a blocked intestine, or other problems.
  • Esophageal manometry measures the pressure within your child's esophagus and stomach.
  • Esophageal pH monitoring measures how much acid is in your child's stomach. A small probe is placed inside the esophagus and stomach to check the pH of your child's stomach acid. This test also measures the amount of acid that goes into your child's esophagus.


Surgery may be done when medicines cannot control your child's symptoms, or other problems are present. Your child's healthcare provider may also suggest surgery depending on the type of hernia your child has. Your healthcare provider can put your child's stomach back into its normal location. He or she may make the hiatus (hole) smaller and anchor your child's stomach in his or her abdomen. Fundoplication is a surgery that wraps the upper part of your child's stomach around the esophageal sphincter to strengthen it.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) caused by a hiatal hernia may lead to ulcers and bleeding in the esophagus. The hiatal hernia may also slide into your child's chest, get trapped, and not slide back into his or her abdomen. The tissue from the part of his or her stomach that is trapped may die if its blood supply is cut off. Your child may also have sudden severe chest pain and problems swallowing. This may lead to other serious health problems.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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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.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.