Hiatal Hernia- a hidden cause of MANY symptoms!
About 4 and a half years ago, I finally hit my wall of tolerance with my health. I had been dealing with “fibromyalgia” for several years, and then things started getting much worse (after I started losing weight nonetheless!)
I was having vasovagal nerve reactions which would make it feel like I was having a heart attack. Also, I was having a lot of issues with my digestion because my stomach was always in excruciating pain. I went to the hospital 3 times in 3 months because of the stomach pain and because of how fast my heart skipped with the vasovagal responses. I had no idea what was going on at the time- I did not know about the vasovagal nerve, or gut health. Nothing. I was terrified.
I was having spasms from my neck to my legs 24/7 which I now know was my esophagus having spasms. The hospital told me I just had anxiety, and sent me to a gastroenterologist. The gastro told me I had a hiatal hernia, and GERD. I was told to sleep on an incline, avoid certain foods, and take Prilosec for the rest of my life.
I was devastated. At this point, I was barely sleeping because of these spasms. I was living on rice, broth and grilled chicken because everything else gave me stomach pain.
This went on for months until I finally decided to go another route. I was sick of the pain and the spasms, and the Prilosec made me stop having periods, gave me heart palpitations, and was making me into a zombie. I started looking up home remedies for reflux.
My first finds were apple cider vinegar and aloe vera juice. These two remedies were nothing short of a miracle. The first day I tried the vinegar, I was able to eat a normal meal! Within a week, I had my period again and the heart palps stopped. I was still having muscles spasms 24/7 but they were getting better. After a month of just these 2 remedies, I could once again eat anything without pain! Once I added magnesium in a few months later, I was able to get the muscle spasms under control too.
I’ve noticed recently how many people are suffering with these SAME issues, so I hope this article can help some of those that cannot figure out what is going on.
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
I’ve found the best explanation on what a hiatal hernia is from Modern Herbal Medicine’s wesbite :”The esophagus passes through an opening in the diaphragm muscle called the hiatus. The esophagus ends where it connects to the stomach. The stomach lies in the abdominal cavity below the diaphragm. What a person has a hiatal hernia, a portion of the stomach protrudes up into the chest cavity through the opening for the esophagus (as pictured below).”
Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia:
- Acid Reflux/Heartburn (because of LOW STOMACH ACID!)
- Heart Palpitations
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty swallowing (especially pills and capsules)
- Lots of deep or shallow breathing, cannot get a good breath!
- Esophageal spasms
- Chest pain- the muscles in the chest get pretty stressed when dealing with labored breathing and esophageal spasms. Some people even notice that their ribs pop out and need chiropractic manipulation
- Vasovagal “responses”: With over-stimulation of the vagus nerve (which runs from your brain stem, all the way down to your colon), you can get a series of symptoms. The most common reaction is a very strange tunnel-vision kind of feeling, then increased heart rate (which tends to increases anxiety), then one usually feels gut pain and they have to run to the bathroom (sometimes for quite a while!). Afterwards, the person might fell better but they also tend to be absolutely exhausted.
How to fix the hiatal hernia
- Find a Chiropractor that is knowledgeable about hiatal hernia manipulation. Some people notice an immediate relief from this, especially with breathing!
- Check out Youtube for videos like this so you can try to fix it yourself
- Heal your gut!! Probably the most crucial point in preventing the hernia from popping up again (although for women, the hernia can definitely get pushed back up in pregnancy- sorry!). Those with hiatal hernias almost always have LOW stomach acid. This allows undigested food to just sit in the gut and rot- gross! You can check out my awesome Gut Healing course for more info on how to truly heal the gut too.
- Concentrate on nervous system health. The vagus nerve is what gets really irritated with a hiatal hernia. Singing, laughing, humming, breathing exercises like Buteyko, and even yoga can help the Vagus nerve! Read more about the vagus nerve here.
- Mineral deficiencies like magnesium and potassium play huge roles in muscle strength and need to be addressed to prevent the stomach from pushing back through the diaphragm.
- Read this post from Modern Herbal Medicine to learn more about the seriousness of this little hernia! The post has 3 pages, and pretty much everything you need to know about healing the hiatal hernia!