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The Most Common Hiatal Hernia Symptoms that You Should NEVER Ignore
My experience with healing from a hiatal hernia is what started my journey into holistic health nearly a decade ago. I had been dealing with severe stomach pains, weird heart palpitations (it felt like I had 2 heartbeats- this is because the esophageal spasms can be so extreme that it is like a second beat!), and I couldn’t eat or drink anything without pain.
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.
How I Healed A Hiatal Hernia
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 worse 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. My experience with this health issue made me realize first hand how the body is a whole and everything is truly connected. Over the last several years, I have encountered so many others that have had a similar experience like mine and they’ve been able to find healing as well!
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).”
The Most Common Hiatal Hernia Symptoms
There are many symptoms of a hiatal hernia and these are the most common and the symptoms I see the most with clients.
- 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- this has to be one of the weirdest hiatal hernia symptoms to deal with. It truly can feel like you have a second heartbeat, and they can be so severe at times.
- 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.
Get the eBook on how to heal a hiatal hernia here:
Natural Treatment for 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. Work with our HTMA programs to get your minerals balanced, gut healed, and so much more.
- 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!
- Or get my entire guide on how to heal a Hiatal Hernia here.
Did you drink a mixture of aloe Vera juice and Apple cider vinegar together or separate? Can you please give me measurements of each to drink, how many times a day
Hey Christina! We can’t really give specific recommendations since we don’t know your history, but you can follow the recommendations on the aloe label for amounts. For ACV it’s typically 1tsp-1Tbsp diluted in a little water before a meal. You can mix if that is easier for you, but it’s always best to try 1 thing at a time to see how you react.
Would the acv be harmful if your esophagus is irritated by stomach acid?
If you know you have gut irritation it is definitely better to work on soothing first before adding in anything that can increase stomach acid.
My husband is dealing with this what is the dosage for the aloe Vera??
You can follow the recommendations on the label for best results.
Would the apple cider vinegar or Aloe Vera cause more problems because I also have Esophagitis and IBS.
It really depends on the situation. Usually if there is inflammation it is best to go in with gut healing/sealing first before adding in ACV.
Hi! I think I got a hiatal hernia from coughing too hard when I had covid. Still need to check w/ GI doc.
What’s the best way too seal and heal the gut?
Also is there a way to know if it’s a hiatal hernia w/out the endoscopic?
Hi Laura! I have my main post on gut healing here with tips on healing/sealing the gut lining: https://www.sassyholistics.com/how-to-heal-leaky-gut/
I don’t think that you HAVE to do the endoscopy at all. I wouldn’t really recommend it personally as it’s a lot of stress. My chiropractor had actually felt for it and knew it was there first before I even had the endoscopy (at the time I was still leaning more towards the medical world so I just did the test to confirm).
How do you get a diagnosis of this first ? What tests do the GI docs do ?
You’d need an endoscopy, however a chiropractor diagnosed mine before I got that test done. If you can avoid unnecessary anesthesia and such an invasive test, that would be the best ways. Many chiros and sometimes even acupuncturists can palpate for it.
I had lot of coughing when I caught Covid and believe that may have a Hiatal Hernia. Did you have hiccups bad?
I didn’t but some do, yes.
Hi, Mysurgeon informed me after removing my gallbladder that I have a hernia that is so large I only have 5% of my stomach remaining.However I have no symptoms,no reflux, no pain,no problems eating. He said I could end up in the ER room in serious condition. Surgery is over two hours and at 80 years old I am very reluctant. Thank you so much . I am going to start Aloe Vera and apple cider vinegar.
I had a swallow study done and they found a hiatal hernia and gerd.
I’m sorry to hear that! I hope that you’re on the way to healing now 🙂
Did you feel like you had something stuck below your breastbone like you had to push it back in I get this weird lump feeling below my breastbone after I eat
Sometimes- a chiropractor really helped me with feelings like that, especially with any chest tension issues.
Thankyou so much for this post. I’ve been following the plan you did with ACV and alovera juice for my hiatus hernia. It has worked wonders, and my acid reflux is gone. My doctor prescribed meds, I only took them for 2 weeks, then threw them away. Drug free is the way to go, and I must mention, my symptoms were extremely severe.
Hi Elaine! I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing better, and that you were able to fix things like this. I hope you continue to find healing! 🙂
I have gastritis and hiatel hernia esophageal spasms and severe digestion bowel issues stool
Loose float and Diarhea and constitution terrible skin growths and flushing and extreme fatigue and intolerance to thyroid meds can you help
Hi Teresa- yes, we work with anyone that wants support with better health. Our HTMA program is the best place to start: