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Symptoms Of A Hiatal Hernia

In the human body, a hernia refers to a protrusion of an organ or tissue into an area in which it does not belong. The term Hiatus refers to the opening in the diaphragm which separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. Typically only the esophagus transverses through the hiatus. In the case of a hiatal hernia, the opening now allows some or all of the stomach to protrude. The diaphragm is a primary core stabilizing muscle. A hiatal hernia may be the result of tearing or even genetic predisposition; therefore, not all are painful or symptomatic. Diagnosis is by a medical physician through a combination of patient history, physical examination, and specialized diagnostic tests.

Regurgitation Of Food

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A hiatal hernia is diagnosed through specialized x-rays, called a barium swallow, or an endoscopy. A large percentage of hiatal hernias are not diagnosed due to their asymptomatic nature. It is believed asymptomatic hiatal hernias may have been present since birth, potentially occurring in individuals with a naturally widened opening. A strong symptom of a hiatal hernia is the regurgitation of food. Undigested or partially digested food in the stomach can remain in the area that herniates upwards. This forces the food up and into the esophagus, thus causing regurgitation. The risk of the regurgitation of food increases with the size of the hiatal hernia. But, the most likely time food regurgitates is when an individual lays down quickly after eating. The primary complaint is of a bitter taste in the mouth, but a dentist may also see changes in a patient's teeth.

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