Hiatal Hernia Flare-up: Avoid These 5 Causes

What causes a hiatal hernia to flare up?

What are some of the common causes of hiatal hernia flare-up episodes? Many people with a small hiatal hernia have no symptoms at all. They may never know they have the condition until it is discovered. When flare-up symptoms do occur, the most common ones arise from gastro-esophageal reflux: heartburn and regurgitation of bitter-tasting acid fluid into the mouth.

So what causes a hiatal hernia to flare up? Dr. Vikki shares data, some of them you might find alarming…

Transcript of the video

I was asked to review what can flare up a hiatal hernia when you have a mild condition, and things are mostly under control… What are the things you shouldn’t do to aggravate it?

Hiatal hernia flare-up cause #1: lying down after a meal

A very common one is to eat late in the day and then lie down. Or maybe eat not so late in the day… and lie down. [Let’s say you] ate a lot. You got tired, you decided to watch some TV or read, and you got horizontal. You don’t want to do that.

You want gravity to help pull the stomach down, and you want to give your body some time to digest. A lot of times people, after a meal, take a walk, take a stroll, and that’s very good. That motion, that circulation gravity pulling down is very helpful.

You don’t want to eat late or eat and lie down.

Hiatal hernia flare-up cause #2: over-eating

You don’t want to over-eat either because that over-distension of the stomach will then push it up on the diaphragm, and that can definitely flare things up.

Hiatal hernia flare-up cause #3: eating too fast

You don’t want to eat too quickly. There are two parts to your nervous system: one is called “sympathetic”, which is your fight-or-flight, making adrenaline and causing you to pump more adrenaline, pump more blood. It’s that “let’s get ready and go” and run around state. Then there’s the “parasympathetic” part of the nervous system, which is “rest, digest, relax”. You want to be in that parasympathetic mode to allow digestion to occur.

You don’t eat on the run, eat in your car shoveling in a few bites, running to a meeting…  It really would be better to wait until you can relax and slow down, and not eat in that excited, stressed state, because you’re in the wrong part of your nervous system and you’re not going to digest well.

If you’re stressed, you’re running around, you can have maybe a couple of tiny little bites of something just so your blood sugar doesn’t go so low. But it’s really best to wait until you can be in that relaxed state.

Lesson from Italy

I always think about [when] my husband and I were on a trip for our anniversary. We were in Italy and there was this beautiful outdoor restaurant… You could tell it was a very family-oriented place and kind of off-the-beaten-path. I don’t even remember what city we were in but it was very relaxed.

He and I ate our dinner as typical Americans. We ate very quickly, let’s put it that way. And then we looked around and we realized there’s these families and groups; and they were eating so slowly and they were talking and hugging, and getting up and moving around the table… And they were having this two, three-hour dinner, and for us, 20 minutes later, we were done. That’s a lesson right there, this relaxed family atmosphere.

And I’m half-Italian and I remember as a kid just sort of rolling my eyes on Sunday dinner at my aunt’s house because it took forever. I just wanted to eat and go play.

So these bad habits can start early. But you want to rest, relax, put down the phone, and really set aside time for your meal. And that’s the absolute best way to avoid a hiatal hernia flare-up, and for that matter, probably avoid one altogether because you’re in that nice parasympathetic state.

Hiatal hernia flare-up cause #4: exercising right after a meal

Avoid exercising right after a meal to avoid a hiatal hernia flare-upYou definitely don’t want to exercise on a full stomach. I remember as a kid, at the pool, “is it been 20 minutes”? Thinking it’s about 20 minutes for that stomach to empty. So to make sure, I would say a good half-hour. Don’t eat a lot before you exercise, but if that’s the timing of the day, just make sure a good half-hour has passed and that you don’t feel full at all; you don’t want to feel full and then start straining, because what’s going to happen, that strain is going to push that stomach up and that can really a cause your hiatal hernia to flare up.

Hiatal hernia flare-up cause #5: food sensitivities

And lastly — and this is probably the hardest one and maybe a bit unknown: with hiatal hernia syndrome we typically find that people have a food they’re reacting negatively to. If you know what it is, definitely avoid it.

If you don’t, obviously it’s hard to avoid something you don’t know. But if you do know that you react badly to certain foods, definitely don’t eat them because that will cause that stomach to go into spasm and cause your hiatal hernia to flare up.

A natural treatment

Lobby of Root Cause Medical Clinic in Clearwater FLI hope that was helpful. And if you think that you’ve been suffering with Hiatal Hernia Syndrome and you’re not getting any help, or you’re only getting temporary help or all you’ve been given is medication, then consider reaching out for a program that truly works and is natural. Once we get to that root cause of the ailment, there’s no need for medication because we’ve really gotten to the root cause and resolved it… which is the way it should be.

The medical team at Root Cause Medical Clinic approaches any ailment, any disease from the viewpoint of “let’s find what caused this problem originally. What’s the root cause?“. We have developed a therapeutic approach that blends multiple medical disciplines: functional medicine, internal medicine, chiropractic, nutrition, physical therapy. We don’t mask symptoms: we search for their root cause, and then customize a treatment program to help your body heal itself faster.

If you suffer from a hiatal hernia flare-up, it’s of no use to mask the symptoms with antacids. They will not ever treat the underlying condition. Likewise, if you have Hiatal Hernia Syndrome and are experiencing all kinds of debilitating symptoms physicians can’t trace back to a cause… but they give you anti-depressants “because you are anxious and it’s all in your head“, this is of absolutely no use. The medication won’t treat Hiatal Hernia Syndrome.

Instead, reach out to Root Cause Medical Clinic. We know it’s not “all in your head”, so our medical team will go to the bottom of it, and tailor a natural treatment to your needs. Call us for a consultation. If you can’t come to our offices in Clearwater, FL, we will do a telemedicine consultation. Call our offices to see if we can do telehealth in your state.

Additional resources:
Dr. Vikki’s book on Hiatal Hernia Syndrome on Amazon
Hiatal Hernia Flare-up – Mayo Clinic

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