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  • Not sure what to do, might have hiatal hernia?

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    Old 04-21-2012, 11:14 PM   #1
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    Not sure what to do, might have hiatal hernia?

    Well, for about a year I have had chronic postnasal drip that worsens when I eat. I saw a doctor, tried antibiotics and nasal spray which didn't help at all. Got tested for allergies and nothing came positive. Got a total blood count and everything appeared normal.

    I stopped going to the doctor after that and kind of diagnosed myself with Laryngopharyngeal reflux because the symptoms fit perfectly as I basically have GERD but no heartburn.

    I read about proton pump inhibitors as a method of treatment but learned that they are very dangerous as in many cases of acid reflux; the stomach doesn't produce an excessive amount of acid but if anything, too little. PPI's are unappealing to me.

    Then, I read about hiatal hernias as a possible cause of my GERD-related symptoms. (Keep in mind that I have not properly been diagnosed with GERD)
    It became clear to me that I could very likely have a hiatal hernia primarily for the following reason: I do a lot of heavy lifting both on the job and while working out. And let's be honest, my lifting form isn't perfect, I admit I may be lifting improperly to begin with.

    And then there's gallstones. Lately, I seem to have trouble digesting fat. For example, one day I ate salmon, and immediately after finishing that meal, I got severe pain (gas) and then diarrhea minutes later.

    The exact same thing happened on other occasions, these times with Trout, Gyros, and eggs. The really severe pain, a really hot fart and then the runs.

    What can I do about any of these problems?

    Hiatal Hernia
    1. I'm somewhat convinced that I have a hiatal hernia. I wouldn't be surprised if I had one.
    2. The problem is: I don't know if I can convince my mom to get me diagnosed or if I can talk her into it. I've already seen at least 2-3 doctors, I don't know if it's too costly. Endoscopy sounds expensive and the idea of having a camera down my throat already shys me away.
    3. I'm also worried that they will not find anything, I heard they are difficult to diagnose. There's possibility that I have a hernia and it won't be located?
    4. Finally: If they do find a hernia, what do I do about it? Surgery? which brings me back to number 2.

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    Old 04-23-2012, 05:52 PM   #2
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    Re: Not sure what to do, might have hiatal hernia?

    Hi, I'm sorry you are struggling so much. I hope you get answers soon. Honestly, though, I'm not sure you are starting with the right questions.

    The first question is not "Do you have hiatal hernia," but, "do you have GERD?" GERD might be the cause of your postnasal drip, but with no other symptoms, it's tough to be sure.

    Don't be afraid of endoscopy. I've had three, it was nothing. I was given a sedative, I took a nap, I woke up feeling fine with the whole thing over. It is expensive though, probably a bit over $1000.

    A cheaper test that can also be used to examine your digestive system is a barium swallow. The barium drink tastes awful, but other than that it's no big deal.

    Yes, both tests can miss hiatal hernia. (Both missed mine initially!) Thing is, lots and lots of people go their whole lives with a hiatal hernia and feel fine. Others have symptoms from it, but manage them through lifestyle and medications. Others have severe GERD and no hernia. No one is really sure what causes them, but, unlike other hernias, heavy lifting does not seem to be a big factor.

    Whether you have it only really matters if your upper digestive symptoms are so bad that you choose surgery. I did have my hiatal hernia surgically repaired. At the same time, I had a procedure to strengthen the valve between my stomach and esophagus. It wasn't fun, and for two weeks afterwards I had to live on a liquid diet. Still, things were so bad beforehand that for me, it was worth it.

    I would not say that proton pump inhibitors are very dangerous. Low stomach acid is usually seen in the elderly, not in young people. You could try it for a week, and quit if your symptoms don't improve.

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