Blog: Telman’s Liver File
by telman

Hiatal Hernia, Ileocecal Valve and Gallstones

A decription about how a Hiatal Hernia can replicate gallstone symptoms.

Date:   6/21/2007 3:02:14 PM   ( 15 y ) ... viewed 44726 times

Hiatal Hernia

There are stories told about people who have been ill since childhood regaining their health and vigour after years of poor health. Suddenly after skilful treatment by foreword thinking natural health providers they have gain strength, muscle and stamina. These people have suffered from an undetected Hiatal Hernia. It is estimated by the American Digestive Disease Society that a very large number of people, perhaps half a million may suffer from this condition. It occurs more often in women than in men. It affects people of all ages, but is most prevalent in people over 50 and highly likely in people over 65.

A Hiatal Hernia is difficult to diagnose because it impersonates other medical conditions. People can get quite severe chest pain and think they are about to have a heart attack. More concerning is that a Hiatal Hernia can give rise to the regurgitation of bile acid, chronic indigestion, stomach pain and give rise to the notion that the cause of all this grief is a stomach ulcer or a biliary complaint. The doctor may conclude that the problem is caused by gallstones, and low and behold on ultrasonic examination, gallstones and sludge is detected. This is not surprising because so many people have gallstones but only a few suffer the consequences of symptoms.

What is of concerns, is that given gallstones type pain being present and the evidence of gallstones from ultrasound the diagnoses is made automatically that the gallstones are to blame and an operation will solve the problem. Unfortunately, gallbladder removal operations are relatively simple and the bed occupancy time low with the use of keyhole surgery. This has resulted in an increase in the number of people receiving this operation and also an increase in the number of people who don’t get any benefit. The pre-operation symptoms continue or return after a short remission. One possible option to consider is that the discomfort and pain maybe cause by a Hiatal Hernia and the fact that gallstones are present is purely coincidental. Also it is worth considering that people don’t always have a single condition; in fact, they can have as many conditions as they want at any one time.

A Hiatal Hernia occurs when the top of the stomach moves through a diaphragm (the Hiatus) that separates the chest cavity from the bowels. This is where the oesophagus (food pipe) joins onto the stomach; the junction is called the cardia (or esophagogastric junction or gastroesophageal junction). The cardia is also the site of a valve that prevents the high acid contents of the stomach into the food pipe while allowing food to entry. The valve is called the lower esophageal sphincter, LES, (also known as cardiac sphincter and gastroesophageal sphincter, and esophageal sphincter).

There are two main types of hiatal hernias as follows:

• Sliding hiatal hernia. Where the stomach and the section of the esophagus that joins the stomach slide up into the chest. This is the most common type of hernia.

• Paraesophageal hernia. The esophagus and stomach stay in their normal locations, but part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus, landing it next to the esophagus. This type of hernia can be without any symptoms, but the danger is that the stomach can become "strangled," or have its blood supply shut off.


A Hiatal hernia changes the way in which the sphincter behaves and sometimes it is unable to close properly allowing stomach acid and gas to travel back up the oesophagus which cause heart burn, belching, bloating, difficulty digesting meat/high protein foods, Tension or pressure at the solar plexus, Sensitivity at the waist, Intestinal gas, Regurgitation, Hiccups, Lack or limitation of appetite, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Colic in children, Difficulty in gaining weight or overweight, Ulcers. This condition may be called GORD, Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease. Gord may be diagnosed rather a Hiatal hernia. The main symptom of GORD is heartburn. Heartburn is a form of indigestion. It is usually felt as a burning pain behind the breastbone (in the front of your chest, over the heart), and occurs when stomach acid damages the inside of the gullet (oesophagus). Heartburn often occurs after a meal when the stomach is full, or when one lies down, which allows acid to flow upwards more easily. Heartburn is more common in smokers, and people who are overweight or pregnant.

Gastric gas is drawn into the lungs and may irritate the lungs causing a cough. The commonest cause of a long term non-symptomatic cough is indigestion.

The position of the stomach may become compromised and cramped which in turn puts pressure on the vagus nerve. Stimulation of the vagus nerve can have a wide range of secondary effects. These include changes to heart rate, changes in blood pressure, over or under stimulation of gastric acid and other enzymes, emotional changes, cause a hoarse voice, affect the ear and alter the action of the colon. The vagus (meaning wandering) nerve serves the heart, esophagus, lungs, stomach, small intestines, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, colon, kidney, bladder, and external genitalia. One can only imagine what a long term aggravation of the vagus nerve may cause as it upset the fine balances and PH levels within the body. In the long term poor digestion leads to nutrient deficiency, loss of minerals, greater toxicity, food ‘allergies’ and food sensitivities. This results in fatigue, poor clarity of the mind and emotional difficulties.

A hiatal hernia can interfere with the movement of the chest muscles and a person may suffer from shallow breathing; using the chest and shoulders to expand the lung capacity rather than the diaphragm. Shallow breathing causes trigger points in the chest because the muscles become overused in an unnatural way. Shallow breathing, changes to heart rate and blood pressure can be as acerbated by intestinal gas causing pressure directly below the heart. You feel ill and unwell but the doctor can’t find anything wrong and you end up being diagnosed with a syndrome. Other problems are as follows: Difficulty with deep abdominal breathing, Difficulty in swallowing capsules, Asthma, Inability to take a deep breath from diaphragm, Overall fatigue, Tendency to swallow air, Allergies, Dry tickling cough, Full feeling at base of throat, Pain or burning in upper chest, Pressure in the chest, Pain in the left side of chest, Pressure below breastbone, Lung pain, Rapid heartbeat, Rapid rise in blood pressure, Pain in left shoulder, arm or side of neck.

Other symptoms of a Hiatal hernia may include:

TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint Pain)
Bruxism (Grinding teeth in sleep)
Joint pain
Localized or overall spinal pain
Suppression of anger or other emotions,
Dizziness, Shakiness, Mental Confusion, Anxiety attacks, and Insomnia.
Open ileocecal valve
Overactive thyroid
Cravings for sugar or alcohol
Candida Albicans
Menstrual or prostate problems
Urinary difficulties

In fact a Hiatal hernia may mimic almost exactly the symptoms of gallstones. The important lesson is that although it may be overwhelmingly convincing that health problems may be caused by gallstones other possibilities may exist. The search for a cure is a journey of discovery.

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