Hernias and acid reflux are two different health conditions. However, both are related because certain types of hernias can result in acid reflux. Generally, a hernia is defined as an organ or tissue protruding through a weak spot of the surrounding muscle or connective tissue around it. Hernias are different types, and they affect various parts of the body. The following are some of the common hernia types.

  • Inguinal Hernia
  • Femoral Hernia
  • Umbilical Hernia
  • Hiatal Hernia
  • Incisional Hernia
  • Epigastric Hernia
  • Spigelian Hernia

Among them, hiatal hernias are the main cause that could lead to acid reflux or gastric reflux. If a hiatal hernia is developed, the upper part of the stomach is pushed up into the chest cavity through the diaphragm muscle. This hernia condition can interfere with the functions of the lower esophageal sphincter, which is ideally responsible for preventing acid reflux. Acid reflux is a common symptom of a hiatal hernia, but it does not affect everyone.

We all have an esophageal sphincter, a ring-shaped muscle located at the bottom of the esophagus. This sphincter is like a wall that connects to the stomach. The main function of this muscle is to open the sphincter when you swallow food and close it once it enters your stomach. This sphincter will be tightened to prevent food and stomach acid from returning to the esophagus.

However, by any means, if this muscle fails to perform its functions, the stomach contents, like food particles and acid, flow back into your esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. Your stomach layers can withstand certain levels of acidity, but your esophagus cannot. If this condition is left untreated, it may cause other health problems.

Acid reflux

Acid can damage the tissue of the esophagus which could cause an inflammatory condition called Esophagitis. If it is not treated properly, it can lead to scarring or even cancer. Some people may even develop breathing problems when this stomach acid reaches the windpipe. Taking certain medicines can also cause this condition. Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco can both cause or worsen the condition.

Obesity is another main reason that increases the chance of gastric reflux and the complications associated with it. 

Hiatal Hernias

Hiatal hernia is one of the causes of reflux. A hiatal hernia happens when a part of your stomach bulges and pushes into the chest cavity through the food tube (oesophagus).

Instead of aligning with that muscle band, it creates a tight band around a section of the stomach. In such cases, acid accumulates within this pouch, leading to discomfort.

Hernias occur when the abdominal muscles pull apart in such a way that a small portion of the intestines protrudes through, creating a bulge beneath the skin.

Hernias are generally named based on the area they develop; if they develop near the belly button, it is termed an umbilical hernia. If it develops in the groin (also called the inguinal area), it is termed an inguinal hernia. If a hernia develops in the abdominal area, it is termed an abdominal hernia. 

Sometimes a hernia develops from the weak spot, i.e., out of an incision from previous surgery; it is termed an incisional hernia.

In some cases, these hernias don’t cause any problems and may not require any immediate medical care unless they cause any complications. In the case of a hiatal hernia, acid reflux. General symptoms of a hernia include discomfort and pain, which may worsen while standing, sleeping, or lifting heavy objects.  

If you are experiencing any hernia symptoms, especially persistent acid reflux, don’t hesitate to consult a hernia specialist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

Dr. Venugopal Pareek is a renowned laparoscopic surgeon in Hyderabad and an expert in diagnosing and treating all types of hernia problems and related complications. Call +91 91777-77715 to book your appointment with the doctor.


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Disclaimer: Reading the information on this Bariatric Surgeon India website is not a substitute for any medical or bariatric surgery hospital consultation with a Bariatric or Laparoscopic Surgical specialist. The information should not be relied upon as a medical consultation. This information is not designed to replace a physician’s independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own health care decisions. Regards Dr Venu Gopal Pareek, Best Bariatric Surgeon in Hyderabad