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Hiatal Hernia Help? Please?

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  • Hiatal Hernia Help? Please?

    Hello everyone
    I am new to this board but unfortunately not new to digestive problems. I've had stomach troubles for the last atleast 10 years. I've never had them looked at partially because I was always told it was IBS and partially my own fear of all things medical especially tests. Well in the last 3 yrs along with my daily stomach pain, heart burn then sent me to the ER one day 4 yrs ago with unbearable pain I developed a swallowing difficulty problem. I had a barrium swallow and the GI I saw told me in no uncertain terms everything looked fine all I had was heart burn told me to go home and get my nerves under control? Needless to say I never went back to him. I then saw the 2nd gastro and the only other one within 4 hrs of my house and what I saw in his office I wouldn't let that man touch me with a 10 foot pole.
    FINALLY my new MD I found here last year took a stomach X ray 2 weeks ago. Mind all the minimal tests I've had up to this point showed nothing. He said he thinks he see's a significant hiatal hernia and is wondering why noone else saw this. I am set for a CT scan of my entire abdomen and pelvis next week.
    I explained to him that I can't burp anymore, my bowels are constantly constipated, the swallowing is terrible, I eat everything mashed up in a chopper with lots of gravy of some kind, and by 7 pm I usually can't get anything else down but water. I also have to nap in the afternoon to be able to eat dinner. I have major spasms in what Im guessing is my esophagus and stomach, major stomach pain mostly when I eat, bending over is a HUGE no no, Also doing anything that requires too much stomach muscle strength is also a HUGE no no. I also told my doctor I am out of breath alot and when I eat like the last 2 days I get these AWEFUL bouts where I feel like I can't breath like I'm being strangled to death. Tonight I went to yawn, short of breath and I guess it was my esophagus that spasmed and it cut the yawn right off..I am also constantly bloated. I always look like I"m 6 mos pregnant.
    I was scared I had some kind of stomach cancer but thank goodness all my blood work numbers are good. I guess my questions are, has anyone here experienced these symptoms with a hiatal hernia? If so did you have surgery? Were you told you needed the surgery? Is there anyway to get back to being able to swallow properly without surgery ? I"m so hungry
    If you had the surgery has it helped? Was the surgery hard on you? Sorry for so many questions but it's nice to find a forum where I see some of myself in some of the posters....

  • #2
    hiatal hernia: my experiencelease reply!! please

    Hello Everyone,

    I am desperate for advice! Please bear with me and if you would be so kind and read the entirety of this post I would greatly appreciate it. Recently I have been under a lot of stress since my husband lost his job and other things have been pressing in. About 4 days ago I noticed a feeling of something being stuck or sort of like a lump in my throat and severe back pain under my left shoulder blade, trouble burping and wanting to burp all the time, and also acid/heartburn. I went to the chiropractor for the back pain because my doctor was not in the office. So I go to the chiropractor and she noticed that I seemed to be having trouble with burping and my throat. She asked me what was wrong and I told her my symptoms and then without even thinking about it told me that I had a hiatal hernia and that it is very common and could be treated without surgery. She said that several of her patients have had it and it has gone away. This has never happened to me before. The only time that I had heartburn ever was when I was pregnant with my daughter 11 years ago. Since then I have never experienced anything like this. So the chiropractor had me put my arms above my head, stand against the door and put her fingers directly under my chest bone and "rolled" my stomach back down so to speak. She continued her consultation, adjusted me and then had me lay down and did the same thing to my stomach only in a lying position. She persisted to tell me that this is something that my stomach has to be trained to do since it was used to being in the wrong position all that time and that I could have had this for a long time and that the stress caused it to "come out". So now my stomach is red where she pulled on it really hard and then I wanted it to "come out of my esophogus" too.... I did not feel any better. Went back to her the next morning and then decided that this may be too serious to just ignore so I went to the Emergency room. This is the confusing part: They took all my vital signs including my temperature and told me that I had a fever of 100.9. Once I got inside to see the doctorI told the ER doc there that I had pressure in my throat and chest and that acid was coming up and that my back hurt and what my chiropractor had said. The doctor I feel ordered the wrong tests. He ordered a chest x ray and an abdominal ultra sound, blood work, urine test, and they hooked me up to all the vital signs machines. I waited for 4 hours for them to come back and tell me that I had some sort of infection and that my throat looked a little red and that my white blood cell count was a little high so they sent me home with papers in hand (and after a steep $50 co-pay) and a prescription for Prevacid (did not take the prevacid because my insurance would not cover it and it costs $165! I am taking pepcid complete which started helps a bit, but acid still comes back) and amoxicillin, and that I should follow up with my doc in a few days (of course it is now fourth of july weekend so I will have to wait until tuesday). All this is to say that I have been reading up on hiatal hernia and heard that it can be quite serious and has the same symptoms of acid reflux disease. I am frustrated (my HMO health plan does not help either) and very concerned. So as I asked some questions to the ER nurse as they told me I could leave ("what about my stomach?"). They told me that they cant find out that unless they use a scope to look down there and they did not do it and sent me on my way!!! Since returning from the ER I felt better with the amoxicillin, but I still have that pressure feeling and regurgitate parts of my food all the time, and I am constipated and get full very easily. I also do not get hungry that much anymore. I had to drink coffee to have a bowell movement recently and I am no supposed to drink coffee because of another health problem that I have but I have gotten so desperate that I had to drink it and it worked. I also used metemucil but I am not sure if that worked or the coffee did. I am very frustrated and want tot know what is going on and do I have a hiatal hernai or not?!?! Do you have any advice for me? Thanks for listening!!!!

    Email me if you like. Please help me!!!


    • #3
      Hiatal Hernia

      Braveheart -

      First of all, you need to get yourself to a gastroenterologist, not a chiropractor. S/he will be able to get to the root of the problem and prescribe the correct treatment. The emergency room is no place for this.

      I had a hiatal hernia with GERD (which is what it sounds like you have) for fifteen years and always treated it with PPIs. Unfortunately for me, I always have Crohn's Disease so the HH and GERD always took a back seat to the more urgent illness.

      In any case, the HH/GERD became unbearable this year (I went for months without getting a full night's sleep) and the stress of being unemployed and then in a new job just made it that much worse. On top of which, I also had an incisional hernia repaired in October and broke my tailbone in December. Needless to say, it was a miserable year!

      In any case, I grew tired of dealing with the HH and GERD and finally insisted on seeing a surgeon about a Nissen Fundoplication. I had the surgery on 3/31 and, I wont kid you, its a tough surgery and a tough recovery. I had several serious complications not really related to the surgery but related to other GI problems I have but I would still do it all over again in a heartbeat.

      First and foremost, though, you need to get to a good GI and get a proper diagnosis and get it under control before you can make those kinds of decisions.

      This is a good place to start - many people here are very experienced as patients but we're not doctors!

      Good luck and keep us posted!