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Home > Research Department  > Health Concerns Articles > Hiatal Hernia
    Health Concerns Articles  
HIATAL HERNIA
Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor ( N.D.)

ACID RELIEF?

Hiatal hernia causes a reflux of acid into the esophagus; conventional treatment consists of anti acid medications, but they are not without their side effects.
Chronic heartburn is the main symptom of this frustrating disorder.  Eating the right foods and taking supplements to enhance digestion and to improve the health of the G.I. lining can help...

Hiatal hernias are a bulge of stomach tissue that have gone through the diaphragm and sit around the esophagus.  It is asymptomatic unless the stomach valve weakens and allows stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus.  It tends to occur in people over forty and becomes more common as tissues weaken due to aging.  It is associated with poor eating habits, food allergies,  obesity and the use of estrogen medications.

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia are noticeable after a meal.  Heartburn and belching occur along with a reflux of stomach fluid into the throat.  Lying down after a meal makes the symptoms worse.  It is important to control this reflux of acid if it is recurrent because the acid can damage the lining of the esophagus causing a raw sensation in the short term and potentially an ulcer in the long term.   In addition to the dietary recommendations in this article, there are supplements that you can use to reduce the irritation this reflux can cause.

Conventional treatment of hiatal hernia involves the symptomatic treatment of heartburn.  Prolonged use of antacids can cause mineral imbalances because they contain large amounts of sodium, aluminum, calcium and magnesium.  Excess sodium can worsen hypertension and aluminum has been connected to Alzheimer’s disease.  Drugs to suppress acid production are also prescribed.  Long-term use of these medicines can damage the stomach lining, leading to tumour formation.  Other side effects include impotence or breast enlargement.  In some cases surgery is recommended to repair the hernia.

What you can do to help:

- TAKE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES TO ENHANCE YOUR DIGESTION OF FOOD
- DON'T EAT JUNK FOOD
- DON'T DRINK COFFEE;  IT AGGRAVATES HIATAL HERNIA
- IDENTIFY POTENTIALLY ALLERGENIC FOODS AND ELIMINATE THEM FROM YOUR DIET
- EAT PLENTY OF VEGETABLES
- DO EXERCISES THAT STRENGTHEN YOUR ABDOMINAL MUSCLES.
- TAKE DGL;  IT REDUCES IRRITATION THAT THE REFLUX OF ACID CAN CAUSE

DID YOU KNOW?
(HIATAL HERNIA FACTS)

- HIATAL HERNIA IS SOMETIMES MISDIAGNOSED AS SIMPLE HEART BURN
- ULCERS CAN SOMETIMES RESULT FROM HIATAL HERNIA

Natural treatment of hiatal hernia includes the use of supplements to improve digestion, to reduce the irritation caused by the reflux of acid, and to enhance the health of the stomach and esophogeal lining.  For more information about supplements for each of these applications, please see the therapeutic list below.

To prevent the formation of a hiatal hernia do not eat large meals late in the day because this puts pressure on the connective tissue.  Avoid foods that stay in the stomach for long periods of time, for example saturated fats, fried foods and oils.

Eat slowly to avoid swallowing excess air.  Eat foods that are high in fibre, especially raw foods and whole grains.  Regular exercise will strengthen the abdominal muscles.

To minimize the discomfort of a hiatal hernia avoid things that increase stomach acid like alcohol, coffee, tea, colas, tobacco, aspirin, ibuprofen and spicy foods.  Avoid any foods that you are sensitive to.  An elimination or rotation diet may be necessary to uncover specific food allergens.  Eat numerous light meals, chew well and do not lie down after eating.  To relieve symptoms eat bitter green leafy vegetables like endive, lettuce and artichokes.  Prepare them as a salad or steam them and eat them with boiled potatoes.  Carrot and cabbage coleslaw with yogurt or kefir is also soothing to the esophagus.  Fresh papaya should be eaten because it contains digestive enzymes that can accelerate food breakdown.

Lie on your left hand side when you go to sleep or are resting – this will help to  keep the stomach below the diaphragm and often prevents heartburn.

The following list of supplements can be used for treating hiatal hernias.  Adult doses are given.  (CLICK SUPPLEMENT NAME FOR PRODUCTS).

SUPPLEMENT DOSAGE THERAPEUTIC EFFECT
cal-mag chewable tablets As needed Use during a flare up.  Neutralizes acid.  These are an aluminum free alternative to conventional antacids.
Aloe vera juice 2-4 oz twice daily Reduces irritation and speeds healing
DGL Lozenges 1-2 lozenges before meals. Helps to protect the esophagus lining from irritation.
Evening Primrose oil 1000mg three times daily Contains gamma-linolenic acid, an anti-inflammatory.  Heals tissue.
Multi enzymes or bromelain As directed,  With meals To efficiently breakdown food and decrease its time in the stomach.  Avoid enzymes that contain hydrochloric acid.
Probiotics / Acidophilus 1-2 capsules daily Helps to regulate the bacteria in the stomach.  Ensures proper food breakdown by bacteria.
MSM As directed on label Reduces high stomach acid levels without disturbing the body’s acid/base balance.
ginger With meals - as directed on lable Settles the stomach.  Improves digestion
 Papaya tablets As directed on label To relieve burning and speed digestion.
Also beneficial for
HIATAL HERNIA:
Multivitamins, vitamin B complex, PABA, lecithin, betonite, chamomile, essiac combination, fennel, red clover, slippery elm.
For informational purposes only.  Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.


All articles copyright National Nutrition 2001 - 2013.  For educational purposes only.  Please note that while National Nutrition supports your right to use natural health care products for any therapeutic purpose that you see fit, that the information on this website should not be considered as a claim or as a substitute for medical advice.

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