Hernia is a condition in which your internal part of the body, such as an organ or fatty tissue, squeezes through an opening or a weak spot of muscle /connective tissue (fascia). Treatment can vary, depending on the severity of the disease. Some lifestyle measures have an effect, too. Quitting smoking if you’re a smoker, for example, can help a lot to prevent the problem from worsening. How about alcohol? Is it still OK to drink with hernia?
There are a number of different types of hernias – one of them hiatal hernia, an abnormal condition that occurs when part of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm called ‘hiatus’. Hiatus is a normal hole where the esophagus (food tube) passes and connects to the stomach.
The stomach can sometimes pushes upward and causes a hernia through hiatus. This problem is more likely to occur when you have weakness in the muscles surrounding the hiatus.
There are a number of possible factors that trigger or cause hiatal hernia, some are as follows:
- Having abnormal large hiatus (birth abnormality).
- Injury that affects the hiatus area.
- Intense, persistent extra pressure that hits muscles surrounding the hiatus such as chronic coughing, frequent lifting heavy object, and excessive straining when you have bowel movements.
- Obesity and age may have an effect, too. In fact the disease is common in obese people and more common in adults age 50 /older.
Typically, a small hiatal hernia doesn’t bother you a lot and you don’t have any symptom. But if it gets larger, this can cause a number of symptoms and discomforts. For example, a large hernia can cause heartburn by allowing food and more acid to flow back into your food tube.
Some home remedies and non-surgical treatment can help soothe and relieve the symptoms. But if the hernia has become very large, surgery is required. The good news, there is only a small number of cases that require surgery.
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
It is a chronic digestive disorder in which what you find in your stomach (especially stomach acid, or sometimes stomach content) back up into the esophagus. This frequent acid reflux can also irritate the lining of your esophagus.
Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest, that occurs twice or more a week is the classic symptom of GERD. Nevertheless heartburn can also be caused by something else, not always associated with GERD.
The burning sensation may also spread to the throat, followed with a chronic irritation in the throat, feeling of a lump in the throat, or sour taste in the mouth. Other GERD symptoms include:
- Dysphagia, difficulty swallowing. Sometimes swelling can be painful.
- Sour liquid, or/and bad breath.
- The acid reflux may also cause dry cough.
- Sometimes the reflux could be painful, causing chest pain.
- Sore throat (hoarseness).
There are a number of factors that can cause and worsen GERD. These include; cigarette smoking, pregnancy, obesity, and certain conditions (such as scleroderma (disorders of connective tissues), dry mouth, asthma, and delayed stomach emptying).
Can you drink alcohol with hernia?
In general, the connection between alcohol and hernia is up in the air. Though heavy drinking is associated with a number of health conditions, it is not clear yet whether it has an effect to increase the risk of developing hernia.
Alcohol may have nothing to do with hernia. But heavy drinking can sometimes make hernia-related problems more likely. For example it can aggravate heartburn (GERD), a common problem in people with hiatal hernia.
Hiatal hernia may play a role to cause heartburn related to GERD. In fact GERD in people with hiatal hernia is quite common, though there are also many cases of hiatal hernia without GERD.
Normally, hiatus is responsible to prevent acid from backing up into your esophagus by applying pressure to the stomach. With hiatal hernia, this function doesn’t work effectively. As a result, there will be more stomach acid that flows back to the esophagus, making GERD more likely.
Alcohol can relax the valve between your stomach and esophagus, making GERD worse. And though it’s not stored as fat, the excessive amount you drink is bad if you’re trying to lose extra pounds of your weight.
To keep safe, it’s recommended to drink only in moderation. And if you have hiatal hernia, you may need to significantly cut down on your booze intake.
Alcohol is not the only one. The following things can also worsen hernia or make your GERD more likely: