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What is a Hiatal Hernia?

A hernia occurs when one part of the body protrudes through a gap in another part of the body. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm into the chest cavity due to weakened muscle tissues.

The risk for hiatal hernia can be caused by: Congenital weakness, age, smoking, prolonged illness, obesity, pregnancy, tumors, restrictive clothing and heavy lifting.

A hiatal hernia can cause signs and symptoms such as a burning in the esophagus, belching, regurgitation of sour tasting liquid in the mouth, muscle spasms causing difficulty swallowing, chest pain and worsening of symptoms by leaning forward, straining, lifting heavy objects, lying down, and during pregnancy.