singing and hiatus hernia

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 5/24/2012 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   

thank you for entering in my post

first of all I want to say thank you for all the people who replied to my first post, I was very impressed for the unselfishness in this forum and I'm very pleased that you've excepted me in this fantastic community

In 4 days I will have my endoscopy and also the first time that I'm getting into a hospital here in England (Stafford).
I'm making a questionnaire to the doctor I'm meeting: Doctor N Bosanko (Gastroenterology)
Do you know Doctor Bosanko?
I hope he will give me the chance to ask these questions otherwise it will look like I didn't do anything …

I have a 1,5cm hiatus hernia with reflux, which 8 years ago completely made me give up my biggest passion that is singing

on the letter that I got form the hospital doesn't say anything about whether I need to go with empty stomach, but I remember that the stomach needs to be empty, Do you know how many hours before my last meal?

I want to ask to the Doctor about:

my pain in the centre part of my stomach during the digestion last time it happened after eating pasta with tuna, or bread with tuna, the pain can last 3 or 4 hours and is very intense, I start to sweat I need to leave anything I'm doing in that moment like working or studying as painful it is, and obviously this is causing me also troubles at work, I don't know for how long they can accept that I need to leave my what I'm doing when I'm in pain …

Singing was my career my livelihood, and I'd like to know whether doing a surgery operation I can start to sing again

is there here in this community any opera singer who did the operation and started to sing again?

Do you know who is the best Doctor here in England to care GERD disease and where he's based?

Any further information according this subject will be very appreciated

thank you in advance for your help

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/25/2012 6:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi hoezap,
Since I don't live in he UK, I can't answer your specific questions.  That said, I have a question for you.  Have you had the 24 hour PH monitor test to see the level of your reflux?  That will be important information in answer to your question about singing again.
Many people who have hoarseness due to reflux experience a complete recovery of their larnyx.  There are a few who are highly sensitive to small amounts of reflux who continue with some problems, which could possibly include persistent hoarseness.  My guess from reading posts throughout the past 3 years I've been participating in this forum, that the odds are in your favor.
I would expect a really excellent ENT would be able to answer a lot of these questions for you.  When you see your surgeon see if you can get a referral.
Think positively!  Try not to start projecting negative outcomes into your future.  There is a very strong mind-body connection, and if you can expect a good result, it can help your recovery and give your body a better chance to heal properly and more quickly.
Good luck with your appointment!
Words of wisdom by Eckhart Tolle:
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 5/25/2012 8:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi again, Paolo --
Best wishes to you as you continue to search for answers.  When you find a doctor, be sure to go prepared with your questions written down...sometimes it's hard to remember everything when you're in an unusual environment like a doctor's office.  Particularly, the stomach pains you described in your other thread are troubling.  Neither reflux nor a hiatal hernia will cause stomach pains.
General procedure for an endoscopy is: "...nothing to eat or drink past midnight."  Call the medical center to double-check.
This couldn't be more of a shot-in-the-dark, but you may try contacting David Jones for specific questions about opera singers, reflux issues, and perhaps doctor recommendations.  He is one of the best classical voice instructors in the world, and used to maintain a London office.  (Don't know if he still does, but annually does training clinics there.)  His website is here:
I think you might enjoy reading articles from his archive, found about halfway down the left-hand column of the home page. 
The only reflux doctor I've heard of in the UK is Dr. Ken Park, because of his work with the Linx.  Not trying to steer you in that direction, but the fact that he is trained in this procedure perhaps indicates a greater understanding of GERD and the persistent symptoms that other therapies have difficulty resolving.  Here is an interview:  At any rate, he is a surgeon and maybe not the best for a consultation, but his staff could direct you to a GI he works with.
I mentioned Pepto Bismol in your other thread, and I think you said you hadn't heard of it.  I'm fairly certain it should be available for sale at your local pharmacy.  It might be helpful to try it for your stomach pains before you see your doctor, as a cheap diagnostic tool.  If it helps, then that may indicate a direction for the doctor to go.  If it doesn't help, then it eliminates some possibilities.
Best wishes.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/25/2012 8:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi hoezap,
Great input from 2 of our awesome members already and I just wanted to add that the general rule of thumb here in USA is "if you have a morning appointment - do not eat or drink after midnight". Your stomach must be empty for the scope.
Here is a link to another thread about a singer that you made find helpful:
I am sending you lots of good luck with your scope and remember to be your own best advocate when talking with your Drs. 
Keep on talking with us here in the forum.
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."~ Vivian Greene

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 5/25/2012 9:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Denise for your reply

“Have you had the 24 hour PH monitor test to see the level of your reflux?”

No, I haven't. Thank you this will be one of the first question on Tuesday after my endoscopy

yes I really hope I will get a good ENT

“Think positively!  Try not to start projecting negative outcomes into your future.  There is a very strong mind-body connection, and if you can expect a good result, it can help your recovery and give your body a better chance to heal properly and more quickly.”

I posted this part of your reply in a facebook group of people who suffer from GERD disease, where there are a lot of people depressed because of their symptoms, so your reply will uplift a lot of people

Thank you very much indeed for your kindness and unselfishness


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/26/2012 7:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Paolo,
You're very welcome.  I found this forum just before I had my Nissen and the people here provided uncommon support and information.  I decided at that time to stay active here and "pay forward" the great support I received in my hour of need.  I'm very happy to be able to help.
Good luck with your appointment on Tuesday!  Be sure and let us know how it goes.
Best wishes,

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/28/2012 6:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Paolo,
Although not a professional singer, I sing in two groups at our church and it is a passion for me. During my last 2 yrs. of struggling with GERD, I often had to stop singing, as I would start coughing from the reflux. It broke my heart! So I understand your concerns. I am 7 weeks post Nissen, and am happy to report that I started back to singing 1 week after surgery. I didn't have much breath support to start out with, but I am now back in full voice.
Prayers are with you, and I hope this eases some concerns.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/28/2012 7:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Yay Timmy15!
It's wonderful to hear that you're able to sing again!
Thanks for sharing.  It's so good to hear that you're doing well.
Very best wishes,
Denise turn

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 6/9/2012 6:51 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you again Bruce

I did just a visit with Doctor Bosanko I had no endoscopy but it was very interesting anyway and he referred to to Stoke hospital for a 24 hours PH monitor test, he told that I can do both the operation in the same time (abdominal hernia and hiatus hernia) this is a good news

I've seen David Jones profile it's very interesting and I've read also some of his articles I will try to send him an e-mail, but now I need a good Doctor here in England who can do Nissen or Linx I know in Italy like Doctor Bonavina who can do both the operation very well, searching on internet I've found Dr David Ashton who did the very first operation with the ring magnet here in England along with 2 Italian Doctors

I know in Italy they are really good about GEARD disease so I will do the operation here in England just if they make me sure about the competences of the Doctor

I don't know about Pepto Bismol but after years I learnt how keep the symptoms down without medicines I'm having a very strict diet, and it helps me a lot
But could I take Pepto Bismol without prescription? And could I take it before my 24hours PH monitor test? It sounds interesting I will make a research for it thank you

thank you very much again Bruce for your help


New Member

Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/9/2012 10:31 AM (GMT -6)   

As far as your hiatal hernia, that is relatively small correct? Does it cause you pain when your diaphram is pushed down when singing? Did you stop singing because of the pain from the hiatal hernia + diaphram movement, or the reflux coming up and affecting your larynx?

My best guess would be if your hh doesn't cause any pain when you use your diaphram and you can manage your reflux enough so it does not affect your larynx allowing it to heal, you should be more than fine to sing! Even if your esophagus isn't healed yet, it should still be fine, as it isn't technically used when singing, though it can cause some discomfort, but should be fine.

Have you ever tried seeing a chiropractor to see if your hh can be naturally adjusted through the diaphram? I know some people say to drink a lot of warm water at once and jump down from a higher ledge will naturally move it to the correct place, but to me personally that sounds harsh and I dont know if it works. Also, as a singer, your diaphram is already probably pretty tight. If seeing a chiropractor is an option, I would work with them and if they can get your HH through your diaphram, and then do some breathing exercises to tighten the diaphram. My voice teacher has me place my hand on my stomach applying pressure, breath in for lets say 8 counts (while pushing diaphram down) while applying resistance with my hand, hold it for 8 counts, and then breathe out for 8 counts as controlled as possible. Doing that will help strengthen and tighten the diaphram. Also, I read that panting is a fast way to tighten the diaphram too.

Just throwing all of that out there. For me, singing is my passion too, and when I got this, I was really scared and discouraged. But learning some of these things has given me hope and I am excited to sing again.

I hope you have success in whatever you decide to do and you can enjoy your passion again!
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