Hiatal Hernia Diagnosis: Why Often Missed?

Hiatal Hernia Diagnosis: Why is it Often Missed?



This is a very common situation in which I find many of our patients. Depending on your symptoms — heart palpitations, anxiety, stomach issues, feeling out of breath — there is one root cause to all of these: Hiatal Hernia Syndrome. Your, it’s is all too often missed.

Doctors tend to tell you that it’s “all in your head”. This is not the case.

Watch Dr. Vikki Petersen’s video on the reasons why misdiagnosis is so common.


Your hiatal hernia diagnosis may completely miss the syndrome. So let’s go through some of the common symptoms.

Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia Syndrome

Heartburn a symptom of hiatal herniaYou have acid reflux or heartburn. You have a tension in your abdomen. You feel like you eat and the food just sits there

You are constipated. You don’t move your bowels one to two times a day effortlessly.

You might have shortness of breath. You just get breathless during the day even when you’re not doing a lot of activity, and maybe you were used to be able to do a lot of activity. Now you’re getting breathless, just walking around the house…

You have heart palpitations, you have anxiety

Now, understand you don’t necessarily have to have all of these symptoms, but this is the syndrome where one root cause is causing this whole host of symptoms.

You feel worse at night, you can wake up with heartburn or panic attack or heart palpitations in the middle of the night.

So you’re not sleeping well, this feeling of anxiety can come upon you at night.

It can also come upon you during the day.

Digestively, you are uncomfortable, you’re eating less and less. You’re eating less and less foods, and you’re just miserable.

So why is that hiatal hernia diagnosis so often gets it wrong?

Hiatal hernia diagnosis often misses it…

hiatal hernia diagnosis often misses hiatal hernia and doctors push heartburn or acid reflux pills And what your doctor is telling you… maybe they’re finding acid reflux. So they gave you the acid blocker.

But what else are they finding? Maybe they’re finding a little inflammation in the esophagus, but they’re saying it’s mild.

Or maybe you’ve had an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, and they say “You’re completely fine“, but you’re miserable with all these symptoms.

Maybe you’ve heard of hiatal hernia because it’s now getting more… not popular, but more common such that people are hearing about it more.

And you’ve gone through the endoscopy as I mentioned, and they say “No, that’s not it“.

It could still be Hiatal Hernia Syndrome, and your physician will still not make a proper hiatal hernia diagnosis.

And let me explain why that is.

…because it’s not always obvious

A frank hiatal hernia is when your stomach comes up above your diaphragm. And there is such a thing as a sliding hiatal hernia, where it goes down and comes up. So it’s up and down.

Now that can be missed upon testing because it happened to be down when they do the test, versus up.

But there’s also what we have deemed a “subclinical hiatal hernia“, meaning that there’s your diaphragm and your stomach and spasm pushed up against your diaphragm. It is still creating that discomfort as far as eating, that breathlessness, shortness of breath feeling, the heart palpitations, the anxiety…

hiatal-hernia-diagram_optimizedThis is all a structural type of issue because when that stomach is in spasm and pushed up on the diaphragm — it doesn’t have to be through it, right?

It doesn’t have to be a frank hiatal hernia, but just enough that it’s pushing up on it — that diaphragm is now in spasm.

And instead of freely moving, so you can get all the oxygen that you need, it’s more like [sounds] because it’s in spasm.

So you will have that whole cascade of symptoms and you’ll be tired along with everything else I just mentioned.

And you are being misdiagnosed and you’ll frequently be told: “It’s in your head, you’re under stress, here’s what we need to do: here’s your antidepressant, and here’s your anti-anxiety medication“.

These [meds] are very dangerous. They’ve recently absolutely been proven not to work. That’s a dangerous way to go about it.

Hiatal Hernia Syndrome: not in your head

And I just want you to know that this is not in your head. I talk to patients from all over the world — mostly US. but all over the world — who are just so miserable, losing their quality of life because they’re being told they’re just emotionally unstable and they’re “making this up because your heart is fine, your lungs are fine, we can’t find a hiatal hernia, you don’t have cancer“.

Is Hiatal Hernia Causing your Stubborn SymptomsThere’s no box of a disease that they can put you in. Therefore it’s all “up here”… and that’s not true.

So if this is you, if you know of anybody who has these type of symptoms… It’s very hard to explain… I can just tell you… I run into that all the time too, with patients. They’re like: “You know, my spouse just doesn’t get it. My family just doesn’t get it“. And they don’t, if you never experience this, it’s like: “Why are you feeling anxious? Look around, honey, everything’s fine.” You go: “I get it. I’m still anxious“.

Why? Because you can’t turn off those stress hormones that are being created by your body because your diaphragm is not getting enough oxygen. Okay? You can’t just go “Oh, not now!” and turn it off and be happy again.

It’s not the way it works. This is out of your control.

Mild-to-moderate hiatal hernia: surgery unnecessary

But we can get you back in control by getting to the root cause of this problem. [As long as you get a proper hiatal hernia diagnosis, of course…]

And it’s not difficult. It does not require surgery [when mild to moderate]. It typically requires no medication. It is a natural program.

And believe me, if you are not suffering with this, you likely know someone who is, because it’s that common.

I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you’ve been experiencing. You have any questions. We’d be delighted to offer you a consultation.

Why Root Cause Medical Clinic?

The medical approach used at Root Cause Medical Clinic seeks to uncover the underlying root cause creating your body’s ill health or malfunction. From there, we develop a personal program to end the discomfort and inconvenience of poor health.

Lobby of Root Cause Medical Clinics in Clearwater FLOur main objective is to identify the stressors overwhelming your body. They may be lifestyle- or diet-related. They may emanate from a malfunction of an organ or system, such as the nervous system.

The fact is these stressors are inhibiting your body’s ability to heal itself.

If you have Hiatal Hernia Syndrome, there is a root cause for it. Let’s not ignore it; let’s find it.

Our team of clinicians all share the same philosophy on health. They combine their experience in functional medicine, nutrition and dietetics, physical therapy and chiropractic to help you heal faster.

Root Cause Medical Clinic is located in Clearwater, FL, at the corner of Ft Harrison Ave. and Magnolia.

We also offer telehealth medicine services if coming to our clinic is not convenient. If you live in another state, please call us to see if we can serve you.  

We offer a first complimentary consultation.

Other information references

Hiatal hernia syndrome often misdiagnosed

Additional pathology information

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