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Treatment of Hiatal Hernia + Hernia Symptoms

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I have recently had trouble with breathing. When I walk up the stairs, I can barely breathe at all. I used to use the stairs as an exercise mechanism regularly, and then suddenly this happened. I have noticed no abnormalities in my heart-rate.

This occurs every time I walk upstairs, regardless as to whether I've just eaten food (I've read about a relationship to hiatal hernias and post-eating shortness of breath).

My hernia has been properly detected.

Is this problem due to the hernia, or is there potentially something else going on?
What can I do?

Also, I really think I need a second opinion on treatment of this hernia... My doctor thinks that it is untreatable. I have heard that surgery is used in a small number of these cases and it seems odd that mine is untreatable by such methods.

Thank you!


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replied June 6th, 2007
Hernia Answer A2839
You wrote: "List of pre-existing conditions: Large hiatal hernia. Herniated disk in spine (treated with PT back stretches and Vicodin. Has been getting worse).

Current medical status: Suffering from periodic chest pain & difficulty swallowing. My doctor doesn't know what to do about resolving the hiatal hernia: he says that it cannot be treated surgically. It is large, and has reached the point of turning my stomach upside down. The herniated disk in my spine brings about chronic moderate to severe back pain/spasms.

Current medical treatment: Vicodin as needed for pain regarding the herniated disk. Office visits are as necessary, and currently there is little point in going back other than for a prescription."


A hiatal hernia is a protrusion of the upper part of the stomach into the thorax through a weakness of the diaphragm. The symptoms of a hiatal hernia include acid reflux as well as pains similar to heartburn in the chest or stomach. Sometimes a person with a hernia experiences additional difficulties after eating, such as more discomfort in the upper stomach area. In some people, a hiatal hernia doesn't cause any symptoms at all. Usually, hernias are treated via medication, but if chronic acid reflux and severe pain is present, surgery is commonly recommended. You might want to seek a second opinion about your treatment options as it seems that your current doctor doesn't consider surgery a possibility for you.


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