Dennis Lee, MD
Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
- What is a hiatal hernia?
- What causes a hiatal hernia?
- Are there different types of hiatal hernias?
- What are the symptoms of hiatal hernia?
- How does a hiatal hernia cause GERD?
- How is a hiatal hernia diagnosed?
- How is a hiatal hernia treated?
- Hiatal Hernia At A Glance
- Patient Comments: Hiatal Hernia - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Hiatal Hernia - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Hiatal Hernia - Effective Treatments
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
What is a hiatal hernia?
A hiatal hernia is an anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm and up into the chest. Although hiatal hernias are present in approximately 15% of the population, they are associated with symptoms in only a minority of those afflicted.
Normally, the esophagus or food tube passes down through the chest, crosses the diaphragm, and enters the abdomen through a hole in the diaphragm called the esophageal hiatus. Just below the diaphragm, the esophagus joins the stomach. In individuals with hiatal hernias, the opening of the esophageal hiatus (hiatal opening) is larger than normal, and a portion of the upper stomach slips up or passes (herniates) through the hiatus and into the chest. Although hiatal hernias are occasionally seen in infants where they probably have been present from birth, most hiatal hernias in adults are believed to have developed over many years.
What causes a hiatal hernia?
It is thought that hiatal hernias are caused by a larger-than-normal esophageal hiatus, the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes from the chest into the abdomen; as a result of the large opening, part of the stomach "slips" into the chest. Other potentially contributing factors include:
- A permanent shortening of the esophagus (perhaps caused by inflammation
and scarring from the reflux or regurgitation of stomach acid) which pulls
the stomach up.
- An abnormally loose attachment of the esophagus to the diaphragm which allows the esophagus and stomach to slip upwards.
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