A hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of our stomach pushes up through the opening (hiatus) in a diaphragm which is a large muscle that separates the abdomen and chest. Normally, the stomach should be positioned under the diaphragm, but with a hiatal hernia, a certain portion of the stomach bulges into it and causes more or less severe symptoms.
Even though a small hiatal hernia usually doesn’t cause any discomfort and is discovered by chance, more severe cases include heartburn, chest pain, acid reflux, and many more which could all potentially damage the esophagus (food tube).
Like with any other condition, the patient who has a hiatal hernia should follow certain good patterns that could mitigate the risk of the condition getting more severe and therefore improve their overall quality of life. If you are interested to learn more about this topic, we suggest you stay with us as we will provide you with a list of things to avoid and include in your everyday living to help yourself in the best way possible – from food and meditation, to sleep systems mattress and general lifestyle modifications.
Which Food to Avoid and Which to Eat?
One of the first things to consider when having a hiatal hernia is to change the diet. Food that includes a lot of fat, sugar, and spices should be avoided for some time to decrease the risk of symptoms. The same rule applies to alcohol, fried food, certain fruit juices, and fruit, but many more that usually include red meat, butter, tomato-based sauces, all sorts of processed food, and carbonated drinks.
Still, it is not all lost since there is a long list of highly nutritious and delicious foods that can supply you with enough protein, fats, and carbohydrates and yet not trigger the overproduction of stomach acid. Let us mention just a few – berries, melons, yogurt, plant-based milk, nuts and seeds, sweet potato, chicken, fish, and many more.
Besides being picky with the food, you should also make sure to eat the given food a certain way. Try sitting up straight while eating, and make sure to always eat the food at the table. Having smaller, more frequent meals will help your stomach digest the food without much complication, and having dinner at least a couple of hours before sleep is highly recommended to ensure yourself a good night’s sleep. Also, make sure to drink at least 2L of water per day to relieve constipation and dilute the stomach acid.
Easier Said Than Done – Try to Relax!
Nowadays, the tempo of our lives has dramatically increased which brings more stress and anxiety to our day-to-day lives. Even though the stress doesn’t necessarily cause acid reflux, the body still reacts to the reflux symptoms much worse.
Instead of sitting at home or the office alone with bothersome thoughts, try meditating for a couple of minutes and breathing in and out as naturally as you can. This simple yet effective routine will calm down the nervous system and make you feel a bit better. Also, long (or short) walks in nature lower the stress hormone thanks to the multiple sensory signals that have a soothing effect – pleasant scent, beautiful scenery, and peacefulness. It also helps us burn some calories which are crucial for those who have a hiatal hernia and a few extra pounds to get rid of.
Sleep At an Incline Instead on a Regular Pillow
It is a common fact that hiatal hernia symptoms can increase during the night due to the horizontal body position. The stomach acids can reach the esophagus easily which then causes heartburn, chest pain, vomiting, and many other discomforts. The result of it all is another sleepless night with you feeling exhausted, both mentally and physically.
An effective way to keep the acid in the stomach and lower the risk of gastric backflow is to elevate the upper body part when sleeping. You might think that piling up a couple of pillows might do the job but keeping them in the same position throughout the night is almost impossible. Still, there is a better solution that remains on the same spot until you decide to move it yourself – under mattress bed wedge.
A Reflux Guard under mattress bed wedge is a special sleep systems mattress that is made in various sizes and therefore fits any bed, but its greatest asset is that it comes with an adjustable incline (from 4 to 8 inches). You can sleep in any position you like since the given incline falls naturally from the upper part to the bottom. This new-age sleep system mattress is made to last long and accordingly, comes with a 10-year warranty, and you can start using it as soon as you unpack it and leave it to decompress for a few hours.
Do Not Smoke!
Smoking is another habit that takes a lot of will and effort to get rid of, yet it is extremely important to be persistent and eventually stop smoking tobacco. The nicotine from it relaxes the valve between the esophagus and stomach which allows the acid to reflux into the esophagus and trigger the hiatal hernia symptoms.
Do Not Lift Heavy Weight!
Anything that can strain the abdomen and make the hernia worse shouldn’t be a part of your life, and lifting a heavy weight surely fits the category. After all, even coughing can be too much for the abdomen at times, so make sure to adapt your exercise routine to your current condition or simply ask for help when moving heavy boxes or furniture at your home.
Finally, Make Sure to Feel Comfortable in Your Clothes
A simple thing like loosening a belt or wearing comfy pajamas whenever possible goes a long way in favor of eliminating the risk of hiatal hernia symptoms. Anything that puts direct pressure on the stomach should be avoided to let those juices flow without disruption.
This information is provided for informational purposes only. For diagnosis and treatment of your specific condition, always consult your doctor. Read the full disclaimer here.