Hiatal Hernia: How Chinese Medicine Can Help
What We Learned About Hiatal Hernia From Chinese Medicine
Many people can relate to having such symptoms as acid reflux, heartburn, and even difficulty swallowing. Though some may think that these are just symptoms associated with overeating or poor food tolerance, they may be an indication of hiatal hernia. If you are looking for a drug-free, natural approach to treating these symptoms, then keep reading to learn more about hiatal hernia and how Chinese medicine for hiatal hernia can help.
What is Hiatal Hernia?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the diaphragm muscle, located in the chest and abdomen, features an opening known as the hiatus. The esophagus passes through the hiatus so that it may connect to the stomach. Hiatal hernia happens when the upper portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm. This can lead to both acid and food to enter back into the esophagus causing discomfort. This will then lead to symptoms of heartburn, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and possibly vomiting. In the case of large hiatal hernias, surgery is sometimes required.
Causes of Hiatal Hernia
One common cause of the stomach projecting through the diaphragm is the weakening of muscle tissue. There is also a genetic predisposition for those who were born with a larger than normal hiatus. Though physical stress on the area plays a role, there have also been studies that show emotional stress such as feelings of depression and frustration was common in those suffering from hiatal hernia.
According to Traditional Chinses Medicine (TCM), hiatal hernias are caused by coldness in the middle jiao, which is located between the diaphragm and the umbilicus. Another common cause is reduced blood flow leading to weakness in the digestive system.
Treatment Options for Hiatal Hernia in Modern Medicine
According to western medicine, the treatments for hiatal hernia range from simply prescribing drugs to reduce the symptoms of reflux and heartburn to repairing it via surgery. Though these may help patients to achieve some relief, they can be both costly, risky, and invasive.
Natural TCM Treatments for Hiatal Hernia
Unlike modern medicine, Chinese medicine for hiatal hernia takes a different approach. TCM offers many options to treat hiatal hernia that do not involve prescription drugs or surgery. Read on to learn more about Chinese medicine for hiatal hernia.
Acupuncture: Since weakness in the digestive system can lead to hiatal hernia, the goal of acupuncture is to sooth the gastrointestinal tract by clearing inflammation. It also regulates qi and plays a role in creating harmony between the stomach and the liver.
Chinese Medicine Herbs: In TCM, some herbal formulas have been shown to improve hiatal hernia. The most common used in the prescriptions are : Common yam rhizome, also known as Shan Yao, is used to strengthen the hiatus along with the esophageal sphincters. Radix ophiopogonis, also referred to as Mai Dong, is a root that is native to parts of China. They are combined with other herbs for improve blood flow which strengthens both connective tissue as well as weakened muscles.
Eliminate Middle Jiao Coldness: To eliminate coldness, choose foods that have warming qualities according to Chinese medicine for hiatal hernia. As stated by the College of Naturopathic Medicine, warming foods include beef, onions, cumin, and tomatoes. Also try including ginger and hot tea to drive out coldness.
Additional Advice for Sufferers of Hiatal Hernia
In addition to the above treatments, there are many lifestyle changes that can be which will reduce or eliminate the symptoms that are brought on by hiatal hernia. For example:
Exercise: In addition to weakened muscles, obesity can also play a role in causing hiatal hernia. Those with excess body weight may find themselves more at risk than those at a healthy weight. Not only will exercise help to strengthen those weakened muscles, but it will also aid in weight loss and the reduction of stress that has been shown to exacerbate symptoms of hiatal hernia.
Avoid Alcohol: For many patients, alcohol can trigger the symptoms of acid reflux that are associated with hiatal hernia. Those suffering from hiatal hernia are cautioned to avoid alcohol in order to keep the symptoms of hiatal hernia at bay.
Limit Fatty Foods: Foods that are high in fat have been associated with an increase in the symptoms associated with hiatal hernia. These foods are best eaten in moderation. It is also advise that those with acid reflux do not eat too close to bedtime.
Avoid Caffeine: Coffee and other beverages that are high in caffeine are best avoided to improve the symptom of hiatal hernia.
Avoid Spicy Foods: For some, spicy foods can also bring about symptoms. Try eliminating spicy foods to see a reduction in reflux and heartburn.
Avoid Carbonation: Another common trigger is carbonated beverages. These should also be avoided when treating hiatal hernia.
Quit Smoking: Though this is good advice for anyone with hiatal hernia, it really is just good advice for anyone who wants to maintain good health. Smoking leads to many chronic illnesses and can aggravate reflux.
If you have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, there is good news. Drugs and surgery are not your only options. Thanks to the treatments used in Chinese medicine for hiatal hernia, there are options to treat both the causes and symptoms. Consider modifying your diet to avoid carbonation, alcohol, and spicy foods. In addition to these lifestyle modifications, consider herbs or acupuncture. Alongside Chinese medicine for hiatal hernia, be sure to get moderate exercise to strengthen muscles and reduce stress. Lastly, it should go without saying, it is imperative to quit smoking. Speak with your healthcare practitioner to discuss how Chinese medicine for hiatal hernia can help relieve your digestive issues.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with hiatal hernia, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.