Hiatal Hernia Treatment

Burning or other pain in your chest, problems swallowing, and issues breathing could be signs of a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is when part of your stomach moves up into your chest area through a small hole in your diaphragm. The diaphragm is a large muscle that separates your belly and chest.

There are different types of hiatal hernias:

  • Sliding: part of your stomach slides in and out of your chest
  • Fixed: the upper part of your stomach gets stuck up in your chest
  • Complicated hiatal hernia 
  • Paraesophageal hernia: the lower part of your esophagus, stomach, or other organs move up into your chest

Treating Hiatal Hernias at UVA Health

Most people with hiatal hernias don't have any symptoms.

Hiatal hernias can cause gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Treating acid reflux from GERD can help your hernia heal.


For acid reflux and heartburn, there are several types of medicines that can reduce acid. 

Hiatal Hernia Surgery  

At UVA Health, we have experts in hernia repair. You may need surgery if:

  • Your GERD symptoms are severe and don't get better with treatment
  • The hernia twists and stops blood flow to your stomach (an emergency needing immediate surgery)

Why Did I Get a Hiatal Hernia?  

Hiatal hernias happen most often in adults over age 50. You're more likely to get a hiatal hernia if you're: 

  • Obese
  • Have had an abdominal injury
  • Often coughing, vomiting, straining, lifting weights, or other activities that increase pressure in your abdomen