Hiatus means gap in Latin. The hiatus is the gap or opening in the diaphragm (breathing muscle) through which the food pipe (esophagus) passes from the chest into the abdomen. The hiatus is normally wide enough to allow food going through the esophagus to pass into the stomach. If the hiatus gets too wide, a hiatal hernia occurs. With a wide opening, the upper part of the stomach tends to move up into the chest. When this happens, the barrier between esophagus and stomach is weakened. A weak barrier results in acid reflux as well as food regurgitation, pain, and vomiting.
Risk factors for developing a hiatal hernia include:
- Heavy lifting
- Chronic cough
- Age (60% of individuals aged 50 and over have a hiatal hernia)
If you have a symptomatic hiatal hernia, you may be a candidate for surgical repair. The surgery is done through tiny incisions and recovery is fast with very little pain. Hiatal hernia repair restores the integrity of the lower esophageal sphincter, stopping acid reflux. The success rate of hiatal hernia repair is highly dependent on the surgeon skill and experience in this field. Dr. Darido has extensive experience in Foregut minimally invasive surgery. Foregut is the specific area of the body that includes the lower esophagus, hiatal hernia, and stomach. Houston Heartburn and Reflux Center offers the best hiatal hernia repair program in the greater Houston area.