A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through diaphragm, the large muscle separating your abdomen and chest. Most small hiatal hernias cause no signs or symptoms. But noticeable symptoms may appear with larger hiatal hernias. These signs and symptoms include:
Chest or abdominal pain
Shortness of breath
Backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus (acid reflux)
Regurgitation of food or liquids into the mouth
Vomiting of blood or passing of black stools, which may be the indicator of gastrointestinal bleeding
For minor hiatal hernia, no treatment is needed. But if you have acid reflux and heartburn, you may be treated with medications or surgery. Your doctor may recommend antacids to neutralize stomach acid, medications to reduce acid production, known as H-2-receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. Surgery is generally used when medications do not work to relieve heartburn and acid reflux or have complications such as severe inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus.
You can also make some changes to your lifestyle to reduce your symptoms. It may be effective to eat smaller meals several times a day instead of three large meals. You should also avoid eating meals or snacks within a few hours of going to bed.
You can consult your doctor for more details of treatment options.