Hiatal hernia and breathing problems

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Molly M.
New Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/21/2011 7:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone. I am SO glad that I found this discussion board. I need some questions answered, and if any of you can help, I would greatly appreciate it. I have had a hiatal hernia for about 8 years now & I have taken Nexium every since the day that I was diagnosed (8 years ago). I finally got diagnosed after I was experiencing horrible acid reflux & went through many tests, including scopes & barium xrays. The Nexium worked for the first few years to control my acid reflux, but I have always experienced nausea & constipation off and on, depending on what I eat, you know? I just figured this was something I had to deal with. I am a very healthy eater - no greasy foods. I eat 4-6 small meals daily. I go for a checkup with my gastroenterologist every year. I always discussed my symptoms & he would basically tell me that I should try to live with the symptoms & if they get worse, to let him know. I feel as though over the last couple years, my symptoms are getting MUCH worse. I experience upper back pain, upper abdominal pressure (it feels as though someone is standing on my upper abdomen), my acid reflux is worse even when I take my nexium daily and the worst symptom of all is my breathing. I cannot breath normally, and this is hard for someone who is very active like me (I perform in triathalons regularly). I feel like I have shallow breathing & when I try to catch a solid, deep breath, I usually can't. I feel as though every couple minutes I try to breath deeply & it gets cut off. I have to basically sit up really straight & raise my shoulders up to breath in deep, and sometimes I get a satisfying breath, but usually not. I went for a checkup with my gasteroenterologist yesterday, for the first time in 2 years & told him of all my symptoms. He told me that he would put me on a new medication, and if my symptoms do not improve, I could have hiatal hernia repair surgery. He gave me Dexilant. I took it this morning & my symptoms feel even worse today. My question is this - could my hernia have grown larger over the years & is causing new symptoms? Has anyone had breathing problems b/c of their hiatal hernia? And, did the surgery help with the breathing problems? I'm a little hesitant to have the surgery b/c of all of the horror stories I have heard, but then again, I want to give it a try b/c I am miserable! I can't breathe!
Edit - I gave your thread a topic.  :)

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 4/21/2011 9:22:29 AM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/21/2011 9:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Molly M,
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.

Your  hiatal hernia may  interfere with the movement of the diaphragm muscle. This muscle normally pulls downward to expand the chest capacity and inflate the lungs. Since the hiatal hernia interferes with this movement, a person may be restricted to shallow breathing, or will resort to using the chest and shoulders to expand the lung capacity and take a deep breath.

The danger with a hernia is that it can increase in size.  If your sx continue or become worse I would suggest you seek out your Dr. and discuss the surgery.  Remember what you read and hear is often from people who have problems and not from people that whizzed right through their surgery.

I know others will be along to give you advice.  Again a warm welcome to you.



Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

Molly M.
New Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/21/2011 9:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Awww thanks so much Kitt! I really appreciate it :)

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 4/21/2011 2:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I'd tell them to run all the tests again and see about surgery.
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