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Managing a hiatal hernia

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In 2008, I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and I've found it difficult to manage my symptoms effectively, and the gastroentorologist I was seeing hasn't been particularly receptive to the information I had provided him with. In terms of medication, I take 20mg of omeprazole daily which reduces acid reflux. However, I am still plagued by wholesale regurgitation of certain foods. I find it extremely difficult to eat fibrous food or red meat without experiencing pretty severe and distressing symptoms. Food which is not easily digested, which remains in my stomach for a long period, eventually protrudes back into my oesophagus which, in turn, leads to violent retching. Immediately after eating my symptoms are often okay, although not always. However, if I consume difficult to digest foods, I can experience a build up of pressure in my oesophagus, anything from 20minutes to 4-6 hours after eating. The pressure builds and I then begin to violently retch; on occasion, I've retched so violently, the capillaries in my nose have burst. I continue to retch and vomit until the food has been expelled from my stomach, sometimes for 2 hours. This form of vomiting doesn't induce nausea - although I can be nauseous at times - it appears to be a mechanical response to a blockage and, once that blockage has cleared, the vomiting subsides. The symptoms are so distressing, I have taken to avoiding eating problem foods, although some of these problem foods are the most nutritious and my diet is suffering. I am now eating soft foods, such as white bread chicken, and cheese etcetera but these are not the healthiest foods to consume. I try to eat little and often but I struggle to consume sufficient calories which results in me binging on high calorie foods like chocolate. I've tried blending vegetables but this turns them to a slop which can leave me bloated and, when I become bloated, I experience the retching. My quality of life is severely impaired, I dread eating, I experience food-related anxiety/panic, and I am also loathe to venture out of the house for hours after I've eaten. As such, I have little or no social life and would like, if anybody has any, advice on managing my symptoms better than I currently am.
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First Helper User Profile Dr. Robert Wascher
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replied March 27th, 2011
If these symptoms are indeed secondary to a hiatal hernia, and if the function of your esophagus and stomach are reasonably normal, then anti-reflux surgery might be helpful in your case. (You would have to undergo a complete work-up, by both a GI doctor and surgeon, to determine if this option is likely to be helpful to you.)


Sincerely,


Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

www.doctorwascher.com

Author, "A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race"


A landmark, evidence-based guide to a healthy cancer-prevention lifestyle, based on cutting-edge cancer research.
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Users who thank Dr. Robert Wascher for this post: DaveM__ 
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