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SOBEL FAMILY MEDICINE & PHYSICAL THERAPY
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4550 E. Bell Road
Suite 114
Phoenix, AZ 85032
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Hiatal Hernia or Esophagitis

If your doctor has told you that the burning or tightness in your chest is caused by hiatal hernia or esophageal reflux, you probably felt relief that the pain was not caused by heart problems. All the same, what can you do to eliminate the symptoms?


The problem of acid from the stomach backing up into the esophagus causing heartburn has probably happened to everyone at some time. When this discomfort becomes chronic, it's time to make some changes. If a faulty valve between your stomach and esophagus is to blame, you may find relief in medication prescribed by your doctor. However, you may be causing or making symptoms worse by skipping meals.


Caffeine containing beverages may not cause irritation when taken with meals, but when cup after cup of coffee is consumed on an empty stomach, the body will revolt. Heavy meals will also be a problem. They cause the stomach to work over time, thus increasing the amount of acid produced and the length of time that acid is being produced.


High fat meals and snacks are slow to exit the stomach, again increasing the amount and duration of acid produced by the stomach. Frequent, small low fat meals and snacks are the meal pattern of choice for hiatal hernia symptoms.


If stress is at the core of your hiatal hernia problem, and you are not currently exercising, the inclusion of a regular exercise routine will be a healthy addition. If you need additional help in reducing your stress, a professional therapist may provide you with answers.


Do you wake up at 2 am with chest pain? Avoid eating your evening meal in the three hour period before you retire. Elevating the head of your bed at a 45 degree angle may prevent the backup of acid into the irritated area.


Try following these suggestions to ease your symptoms of hiatal hernia:

  • Consume frequent small meals.
  • Keep meals low in fat.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages on an empty stomach.
  • Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Elevate the head of your bed to 45 degrees.
  • Reduce stress through exercise, or seek professional help.

The following food items have been found to cause distress in certain individuals experiencing hiatal hernia and GI reflux symptoms. Begin by eliminating all items on the following list.

  • Mint
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus juices
  • Caffeine
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Cigarette smoking

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