(NaturalNews) A hiatal hernia is a common condition found mostly in older adults which can result in very uncomfortable physical symptoms. It is estimated that approximately 60% of individuals over the age of 50 have it. Fortunately, there are effective natural remedies and lifestyle changes that can be made to control or eliminate these symptoms.
A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach protrudes into the thorax through a tear or weakness in the diaphragm. This can result from any lifestyle factor that causes weakening of the diaphragm and the connective tissue between the stomach and the esophagus. Examples are: heavy lifting, hard coughing or sneezing, straining from constipation, violent vomiting, and pregnancy and delivery. However, the most common causes of a hiatal hernia are stress, obesity, lack of proper rest, and smoking. Poor posture while sitting and the use of drugs are also factors.
There are two kinds of hiatal hernias:
The most common, which accounts for 95% of cases, is a sliding hiatal hernia. This occurs when the stomach and the part of the esophagus that joins the stomach slides above the diaphragm. A sliding hiatal hernia occurs when the abdominal cavity experiences severe pressure. Once the pressure is relieved, the stomach falls into place.
The next kind, which accounts for the remaining 5% of cases, is a fixed hiatal hernia. This type of hiatal hernia involves part of the stomach herniating through the esophagus/diaphragm junction and remaining in a fixed position in the chest cavity.
In most cases, individuals with a hiatal hernia do not experience any symptoms. However, when the hiatal hernia is large, or if it is a fixed hiatal hernia, certain symptoms can present themselves. The most common symptom is acid reflux/GERD. Other symptoms include chest pressure or pain, difficulty swallowing, belching and hiccups. On rare occasions, a fixed hiatal hernia can become strangulated, cutting off the blood supply to the trapped portion of the stomach. This results in severe pain and is considered a medical emergency.
The following steps can be implemented to relieve or eliminate the symptoms caused by hiatal hernias:
*Avoid cigarette smoke.
*Eat a healthy diet and most of all, do not overeat.
To relieve or eliminate symptoms of acid reflux/Gerd:
*Mix one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in an 8 oz glass of water and sip during meals.
*Take probiotics to keep the beneficial bacteria in your intestines thriving.
*Digestive enzymes will help proper digestion.
Herbs that will help ease the symptoms of acid reflux/GERD are the following:
*Slippery Elm Tea is a very effective remedy. It covers the mucus membranes of the esophagus with a protective coat that relieves inflammation caused by acid. Slippery elm also helps to lower excess acidity by stimulating increased mucus production.
*Calendula Tea soothes inflamed tissue and reduces inflammation.
*Gentian Tea, an age-old digestive aid, prevents heartburn. Simmer one teaspoon of gentian in a cup of water for 30 minutes. Sprinkle just a pinch of ginger and cayenne in the tea. Drink one-half hour before meals.
*Chamomile, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, is a natural remedy for digestive conditions. Drink a cup of chamomile tea up to four times a day, between meals.
*Cinnamon helps calm and soothe the stomach.
An acid reflux wedge pillow will relieve discomfort by elevating the upper body.
Exercising will help to strengthen stomach muscles. Exercise suggestions can be found at the following link:
Luella May is a natural health advocate helping people to heal naturally. Luella is in the midst of editing her ebook, "The 8 Invisible Stains of Our Souls" which will be available in the next few months. She partners with Tony Isaacs, who authors of books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and "Collected Remedies" Luella contributes to The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Luella co-moderates the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and hosts her own yahoo group focusing on the natural wellbeing of pets "