hiatus (hiatal) hernia?

naturelleJanuary 29, 2006

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this.

I've had a history of hyper acidity and acid reflux, going back a dozen years. I have been treated by specialists and have been taking prescription drugs to control the affects, including Prepulcid, Pepcid, and others. Recently, because I have had more severe attacks and symptoms, I have been put on Prevacid.

I still have severe attacks of symptoms, some of which are debilitating. I don't have stomach aches and diaherra and lower digestive problems. I have a bit of tightness in the upper chest and a kind of smoker's cough. I have the burps, or have the feeling I want to. Frequently, when I eat, I have difficulty swallowing, to the point the food wants to be rejected and I go through several moments of trying to get it down, without regurgitating. The symptom that really bothers me is the attacks of shooting pains behind my shoulder blades and shoulders, that are as painful as anything I've experienced. I have a feeling of weakness often, I seem to gather it's when I haven't eaten for a while. I have had a low case of anemia which the doctor cannot pin down, but there have not been any reason for concern over it, as my other tests are OK. I seem to feel better when I have eaten something, but then I get the burpies. I have been tested for diabetes, and these have been negative. I only mention this because apparently anemia is a symptom of hiatus hernia.

I've done some research on this, and all of the other symptoms than the sharp pains, together with my past history seem to point to hiatus hernia.

I'm going to see the doctor about this, as soon as possible, tomorrow if I can, but he does not seem to be that knowledgeable about this subject, as I have been under his regular care for years, and my symptoms were expressed to him the past two visits.

I have had heart surgery, and therefore I am familiar with that aspect. I am abolutely certain it is not heart related. This is not denial. This is based on many factors, including seeing the doctor once a month and having checkups, while this has been going on.

Does anyone have any experience, and can they comment on the shooting pain symptom? From my experience, it seems that taking a prescription Pepcid, or PreAcid pill when an attack starts to get bad, gradually makes the pain subside. I'm just wanting to get some first hand experience on this, while I'm pursuing it.


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I don't know about your other symptoms, but shooting pains going up behind the shoulder blades is one of the classic gall bladder symptoms. You might want to have that checked out, it is very common, and very easy to detect and surgically correct.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 10:21PM
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Here is a link that might give you more information. It mentions shoulder pains, or pain between the shoulders as a symptom of gall bladder problems.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gall Ballder Symptoms

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 9:10AM
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Thanks for your interest in helping me, malinda.

I had meant to mention and I forgot in my original post, that I had my gall bladder out several years ago. That was an ordeal, before and after. As people who have had it done know, the pain in the abdomen from the attacks before the operation is extreme. The pain and recovery took longer to get over after the operation than my heart surgery.

It's interesting about the shoulder pain being a symptom of gall bladder problem. I did not know that. It makes sense that it's the right shoulder, as the gall bladder is on that side. Very interesting article, as I revisited many of the symptoms I had at the time of my problem.

About the shoulder pain, I have it in both shoulders, as well as sometimes between and beneath the shoulder blades. I had a severe attack early this morning and it was in my left shoulder, and it's 50/50 whether it's one or the other, never both thank goodness.

No doubt losing the gall bladder has contributed to my ongoing hyperacidity problems.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 6:49PM
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I'm worried about my mother and wonder if anyone can give advice. (We live in the UK). She is 60 and has always been fit and healthy. 3 years ago she had her gall bladder removed as it has always caused problems. She has now been diagnosed with a hiatus hernia, although her doctor seems unable to help or understand her plight, simply giving her tablets for the pain. She suffers from really debilitating upper stomach pain, sometimes up to two hours after eating. She has about 3 pain attacks a week and can do nothing more than go to bed. In desperation she saw a homeopath who put her on a diet, but she is now losing weight too rapidly and looks skeletal. She lives on salad, fruit etc. - very healthy but not 'bulky' enough to sustain a person. I think she associates food with pain, although one day she got an 'attack' simply from carrying a heavy bag. She lives on her own and works full time and I'm desperately worried about her as she seems to look worse every time I see her.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 9:30AM
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I am not a doctor. I can only explain things according to how I worked them out in my mind so that they make sense to me. A true medical professional may not agree with everything I say.

I have what is refered to as a sliding hiatal hernia - which means that the top of my stomach will sometimes slide up through my hiatus which contorts my esophagus and causes a lot of pain and discomfort. My problem seems to only be an issue when I roll over in my sleep and sleep on my stomach. When I do this I will know it usually right when I wake up. My chest will tingle and I will be nervous and uncomfortable for up to three days. The best treatment is to eat lots of small meals (like never more than two cups of food)and avoid jumping or bouncing up and down, and if it doesn't calm down I have to sleep in a recliner for one night instead of in bed.

My understanding is that the surgery available for regular hiatal hernia's is very successful. Your stomach is really just a stretchy flexible bag that is pretty much the same type of tissue as your esophagus. They can take a corner of your stomach and pinch it and pull it around the top of your stomach and stitch it into place. This ring of stomach tissue re-enforces the spot where your stomach meets your esophagus which makes it virtually impossible for anything to slide back up through your hiatus.

Everything in your chest that connects your head to your feet goes down the center of your chest right along your esophagus - the nerves that come up from your toes and join up with your spine, the blood veins and arteries, your lymph or body fluid system - everything runs through the center and goes from the north to the south through your hiatus. Your hiatus is the only port through your diaphram. Everything going north or south has to go through your hiatus. And everything going through your hiatus for part of the trip travels right beside your esophagus. When you do anything the upsets your esophagus you run the risk of upsetting its neighbors. When your esophagus contorts or spasms it can have an effect on your blood pressure (I often get light headed or dizzy), it can also cause unusuall flash pains in odd parts of your body that have nothing to do with your stomach or esophagus - its just your nerves freaking out. There is nothing you can do to stop it except try to keep the esophagus calm. My doctor told me that some people suffer with odd numbness in their feet or hands when suffering with acid reflux/hiatal hernia, and some people loose control of their bladder - all sorts of things can go wrong simply because of acid splashing on the walls of your esophagus. When the top of your stomach creeps up through your hiatus it often causes acid to splash or sit in your esophagus.

I took all the pills you are taking and they all worked fine to calm down the acid production but none of them made it go away completely or to never happen in the first place. Raising the head of my bed by placing wooden boards under it never did me any good. Sleeping in a recliner instead of the bed works the best for me. The all time best thing that has helped me is to sip a tiny amount of apple cider vinegar each night before I go to bed. It taste awful and makes you feel like you are about to die but in a few minutes all the problems go away. It is as if the extra blast of acid (vinegar) signals the stomach to move everything on to the intestines. Some how it works and I no longer take any medication. There is a lot of stuff written about it on the internet. None of it seems reasonable to me but it sure works.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 1:03PM
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Thanks so much for posting this information.
It is just this type of personal information that makes this forum so valuable.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 1:38AM
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Have you tried colon cleansing? I've heard it can help if not clear up your symptoms.

I had my gall bladder removed in 2001 and have had bowel trouble since my surgery. Colon cleansing has taken all my symptoms away and I am only 1/2 way through the program I chose. There are lots of products out there, I chose Colonix.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 12:54PM
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I am not sure if this applies to you but here is my situation. I suffer from GERD and esophagial spasms. I took PPi's for 10 years+ and now at only 35 I am having weird auto-immune issues psoriasis/arthritis as well as elevated ALT, low iron and other mineral deficiencies. So I have basically given up on covering it up with meds at this point. Traditional medicine has suppressed the symptoms without a solution. It appears to just prevent my system from getting the nutrients I need.

I have been using digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar for several days now and feel better in general. I still have some pressure from GERD but I believe that being more deligent in taking ACV and enzyme pills with each meal will help limit (if not get rid of) symptoms. I guess I would rather spend $ at the local herbal store than give it to the pharmaceutical companies anyway. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 4:28PM
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My diabetic daughter had severe stomach pains and as a result the doctors mistakenly took out her gallbladder. She was later diagnosed with gastroperisis. And to make it worse, she needed her gallbladder more than ever with gasroperisis.

I'd recommend anyone with stomach paid to check out this virtually unknown disease.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 11:47AM
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I've been having symptoms i've never felt before in my life, im 32 years old and this past christmas I've felt pressure on my chest all of a sudden during an excercise on the trendmill and dizziness has hasn't gone that easy, my whole body felt tingling and numb and all of my mucsles from the chest all through my neck,head and even the throat felt constricted probably causing the strong headaches and dizziness but i've been to the ER thinking it was a freaking heart attack but i've gone through ekg, echo stress test and ecg and all was good, blood work came negative,,i've had ulcers from a virus years ago and now im going to see a Gastro doctor and says it probably can be a hiatal hernia that is irritating the vagus nerve, now all is better except for the dizziness, tightness on chest, shallow breathing and difficulty swallowing at times when i walk..weird, i just wondered if anybody has had these symptoms or know about it?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 6:54PM
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It sounds exactly like mine that I mentioned earlier in this thread. It is very hard for the doctor to understand everything about your symptoms and equally hard for you to describe them accurately. I took myself to the emergency room many times totally convinced that I was either having a heart attack or stroke or that I had been poisoned. All the tests showed that I was healthy. Stomach acid problems are not always caused by what you eat or what you do. A million tiny things affect this problem, there is no simple cure and no cure that works the same for all people.

All of my stomach problems seem to be completely gone now that I have been sipping tiny amounts of vinegar every day. I know it sounds weird, and harsh, and full of hooey! but its my truth. I no longer take any pills for acid reflux. It took a year for all the symptoms to go away and they may have vanished because I'm getting older or other such changes in my body. And I have noticed changes in other health issues - some of this could be because of the vinegar or maybe because I no longer take all those pills.

I'm so convinced that I now make my own gourmet vinegar at home from organic apple cider and wine (don't be too impressed, it stinks and tastes awful!).

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 3:35PM
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I'm having the classic symptoms of hiatal hernia/reflux and I'm interested in the apple cider vinegar. My Chiro reccommended it to me today because I am always looking for an alternative to Western Medicine. I tried it for the first time before and after a meal. Wasn't positive it was helping or making worse. Can you tell me your experience after taking the vingegar?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 7:43PM
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Just want to say I was reading about hiatal hernia for a friend just to see what others have found in trying apple cider vinegar.

Recently, I have had all kinds of stomach problems again. Before I had acid reflux and always have had high-gas stomach problems, throughout my life.

The latest was a bout with a weird strong stomach pain and had a bunch of tests done, but everything showed negative.
It was literally killing me somedays feeling like I was getting jabbed by an knife in my lower right side. I noticed a week or so later that I had sort some kind of Urinary infection and although the test came up negative, I am pretty sure I still have that now due to my symptoms.

So I began reading on some kind of cure for that and the recommendation was cranberries, alka-seltzer, or apple cider vinegar. I dont like taking medicines period, so tried cranberries and the vinegar. I Must say that I have not yet cured my UTI--going back to the doctor and demanding antibiotics for this, but since I have been using the vinegar--I must say I have much less gas in my stomach, no more sharp stomach pain--everything has gone with this. I even used to get a little reflux once in a while--this is gone too.

Now I am not saying it is the wonder cure, but I take about 3-4 tablespoons 2 times per day now. I will be going to once a day soon since I think I dont think I need the higher dosage anymore. 2 tablespoons is what I started out with once a day, then I went up as I didnt see any difference and bam it started working. Yes the taste sucks, but now I can drink it from the bottle--not recommend for beginners--the smell alone can make you sick, but once it goes done you feel it working its magic pretty quick. I take it with cranberry or apple juice after word to kill the taste.

Hope this helps others again I dont think you can cure all problems with vinegar, but I must say that it helps for me. Try the vinegar before you go on all the acid inhibitors. I been on all of them and some worked better than others, but I hate to have to be dependent on a drug. Also one recommendation I have is to stay away from milk products, even margarines have milk in them so get it without milk.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 3:49PM
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I've never tried taking THAT much apple cider vinegar - I only slurp like a half a TEASPOON! or a third of a capfull. I've heard of people that simply mix it in a glass of water and drink it and others that sprinkle it onto white bread and eat the bread. I can usually slurp it out of the cap just fine.

I have found that once you open the bottle for the first time the vinegar kinda ages and the flavor improves (it becomes richer and less harsh).

Since I wrote my response I have had another bout of freaky pains that took me to the hospital. I didn't think it was a heart attack, I thought it was something like a torn artery or vein. Extreme shooting pains from the center of my back radiating out to my sholder while I was walking the dog (like I do every morning). I got myself to the nearest hospital and explained to them that I have a hiatal hernia and that the pains could be connected to the three slices of pizza I ate late in the evening the night before and the fact that I had rolled over in my sleep and slept on my stomach. They listened but thought it was something more severe. They ran all the tests and everything came up clean, so they had no explanation for what was wrong. The pain went away in like an hour but since this was a large hospital I ended up staying there most of the day waiting for tests or test results before they would release me.

I guess I will forever have this problem. But it only seems really bad once every 10 years so I think I can handle that.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 4:46PM
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Most docs don't believe in having too little acid, but when vinegar helps some of you, it makes me wonder if that's been your problem? I've heard that having too little acid gives you the same symptoms as having too much acid.

John....do you think you had a gas attack? When gas is trapped somewhere in the intestines, it can really, really hurt. I'm glad you were okay. Its always scary thinking your aorta is about to blow!
If I lean over to do any work, and especially if I'm lifting something heavy, I get palpitations for about a week. I'm thinking I have a sliding hiatal hernia, but it seems like docs don't believe in those!
I have GERD, but it has behaved for a long time. Cutting back on carbs definitely helps. But I intermittantly get what I think are esophogeal spasms. It feels like a twisting, searing pain that goes from my chest to my back. If I can swallow something, it seems to break the spasm.
I can't imagine drinking vinegar straight!
One time on the GERD forum, several people said that what helps their reflux more than anything was a concoction of cayenne pepper, and something else (can't remember what). I couldn't believe that something so spicy would help heartburn.....but they insisted that it always worked for them!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 8:31PM
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Hi Naturelle,
I hope you're still reading this thread because I know the pain you're talking about. While I didn't experience it between my shoulder blades, I did however experience it in my chest. It was a deep, intense burning sensation that got so bad that it would stop me dead in my tracks. I couldn't hear anyone around me and I would nearly lose my vision.

My GP did some tests on me and after several visits and blood work, he finally concluded that I likely had a hiatal hernia.

I tried every imaginable thing under the sun, and the only thing that was happening was that I was loosing weight. Watching my family enjoy food was kinda hard to watch.

Eventually I came across a web site called stopheartburnsnow.com. They provided a solution that I am glad to say, nearly overnight made such a huge difference that I'm beside myself why so many people have to suffer unnecessarily.

I found a coupon on one of those coupon sites that gives you 10% off. It's not much, but every bit helps. This is what you use OWU0YT.

wish you all the best and hope things work out for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stop Heart Burns Now

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 11:31PM
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I have been having a raidiating pain in my upper abdomen and my DR. thinks it's Pancreatitis. I agree!!! I have been drinking a little more Wine than I should, and this is my problem. My DR. did some bloodwork yesterday and she's going to do an endoscopy to check out my upper GI. I would recommend, that you go to a specialist. I'm seeing an DR.of Internal Medicine. If she can't help me, I'm going to an Acupuncurist and Herbologist.

I also wanted to mention, that my father died from Pancreatic Cancer so I'm probably more suseptable .

Good Luck to everyone experiencing problems.

Hope you can get it treated. It's very debilitating to say the least!!!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 3:36PM
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what is helping me now is an MD called a DO doctor of osteopathy who realigns the organs. Also, i take probiotics such as a natural yogurt each day and a HCL for digestion with my meals-Tylers Betaine HCL.
i am still working on this with the DO . hope it helps.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 10:31AM
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I recently stumbled upon some videos on youtube that show you how to massage your own belly to move your stomach further down away from your diaphragm. It makes such simple sense I can't believe I never tried it before. I now massage my diaphragm every day and a lot of my problem is gone.

There's a lot of cr@p on the internet so you'll have to wade through all of it to find out what works for you. Me, I'm checking out 'home cure' or 'home remedy' type videos all the time. The advice works better or at least equal to anything the doctor has prescribed.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 11:07AM
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I have had a Hiatal hernia along with GERD for about 8 years and get "attacks every now and again, and I currently have all symptoms mentioned in this thread (along with Dizziness, neck and shoulder pain, waking up at night, elevated BP). I have been on most of the acid meds but the only one that works pretty well is Nexium. I'm 41 and currently going through one of those "attack" periods. All other tests are normal(EKG, bloodwork, liver)
but these symptoms are very scary, as you are never really sure of the cause until everything else is ruled out.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 11:16AM
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Don't you just love the way the medical folks tell you to always come in when you're in pain because plenty of GERD sufferers learn to ignore the pain and die from heart attacks. The only problem I can see is that when times are bad I would be sitting in the emergency room every day for a week. They would get tired of looking at me.

My current doctor told me to try Maalox and low and behold its working (this time, I swear I've tried it before and got no relief).

From my experience - all the symptoms I'm experiencing are not caused by what I eat. They are caused by when I eat and what I do after I eat. If I fill my stomach then I can't do anything that involves bending over (even a tiny bit), sitting slouched over, or laying down. In order to go to bed at night I have to have a completely empty stomach. I try to eat while standing up and I go for a walk after each meal.

Lately I've shifted all my meals to earlier in the day and cut down on the volume of food. My last meal is before 5:30pm, I go to bed at 10:00pm. It works well most of the time.

Some days are just bad for a million tiny reasons - there is no way to determine what I did or what combination of things caused the discomfort.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 4:12PM
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Wow I didnt realize so many people have the same issue. I was recenlty diagnosed with an HH and I am 31 years old. Well the DR prescriped Nexium, which has worked great but recently I think I aggravated the HH. I was moving some office furniture and the next day I felt pressure under my ribs, In fact I think the HH is pushing on my diaphragm, casuing my lower rib to stick out a bit more. Recently, I have been feeling lightheaded and if I carry anything slighly heavy, I can feel pressure on my stomach area. I too have been having weird pains, in my mid lower back. Kind of near my kidneys. Today I am going to see the gastro Dr. But I wanted to know, if anyone had the same issue with their ribs protuding. I think I will try the vinegar and can anyone give me the name of the digestive enzymes they use. Thanks


    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 4:19AM
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Dear john1980 , I was wondering how your dr appt went , because I am having lots and lots of pain under the left side of my rib cage which is protruding as well!! I went to the ER , they sent me home with pain pills and was told to follow up with GI DR which i did,he treated me for my cronic constipation and sent me home.My constipation is better the the pain is still there,it feels like i have a tennis ball stuck under my rib cage !! I was told about 5yrs ago that i had a small hiatal hernia however i don't suffer from any gerd issues.??? does anyone feel like this?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 2:52PM
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