What is a hiatal hernia?

A hiatal hernia happens when part of the upper stomach squeezes through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm that the esophagus passes through. The exact cause of many hiatal hernias isn’t known. In some people, injury or other damage my weaken muscle tissue. Another cause is putting much (repeated) pressure the muscles around the stomach.

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia

  • Heartburn that gets worse when you lean over or lie down
  • Chest pain or epigastric pain (below your ribs, upper abdomen)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Belching