Hiatus Hernia

Please note that we are currently unable to offer treatment for this type of hernia.

A hiatus hernia is an anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm and up into the chest. Although hiatus hernias are present in approximately 15% of the population, they are associated with symptoms in only a minority of people.

Normally, the oesophagus or food tube passes down through the chest, crosses the diaphragm, and enters the abdomen through a hole in the diaphragm called the oesophageal hiatus. Just below the diaphragm, the oesophagus joins the stomach. In individuals with hiatus hernias, the opening of the oesophageal hiatus (hiatal opening) is larger than normal, and a portion of the upper stomach slips up or passes (herniates) through the hiatus and into the chest. Although hiatus hernias are occasionally seen in infants where they probably have been present from birth, most hiatus hernias in adults are believed to have developed over many years.

It is thought that hiatus hernias are caused by a larger-than-normal oesophageal hiatus, the opening in the diaphragm through which the oesophagus passes from the chest into the abdomen; as a result of the large opening, part of the stomach “slips” into the chest.