For hiatal hernia, esophageal hernia repair surgery is the best treatment for repairing the hernia once it becomes symptomatic. Doctors may even recommend the surgery before the hernia becomes strangulated as a preventative measure.
While esophageal hernia repair is recommended when the hiatal hernia causes pain, there are several conditions related to paraesophageal hernia and can cause the same symptoms without requiring surgery.
Sliding Hiatal Hernia
The more common type of hiatal hernia, the sliding hernia does not require esophageal hernia repair surgery, unless it becomes severely painful. This type of hernia causes the stomach to slide into the chest when pressure is increased in the abdomen, but returns to the correct position soon after.
When the stomach slides into the chest, it can cause mild symptoms that mimic the pain of strangulated stomach, but the pain stops when the stomach returns to the correct place. For this condition, esophageal hernia repair is not needed.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Many times conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract cause similar symptoms. The symptoms that indicate a strangulated stomach may mirror the symptoms felt when patients suffer from GERD. For GERD symptoms, esophageal hernia repair is not needed.
While doctors have found that many patients with GERD also suffer from paraesophageal hernia, they have not made a distinct correlation between the conditions.
Florida Hospital physicians encourage patients with symptoms of paraesophageal hernia to seek medical diagnosis and treatment immediately.