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Hiatal hernias

Slippage of the junction between the esophagus and stomach

Hiatal hernias occur when the junction between the esophagus (food tube) and stomach slips up into the chest.

Symptoms

Heartburn, although many people have no symptoms

Diagnosis

May include a physical exam similar to that for heartburn or GERD, plus X-rays and a barium swallow test to look for hernias or blood tests to check for anemia.

Treatment

May include medication and surgery, known as Nissen fundoplication, in which the upper part of the stomach is wrapped and stitched in place, to reinforce the closing function of the esophageal sphincter or opening between the esophagus and stomach.