Can a hiatal hernia cause pain after eating?

Do you ever feel an uncomfortable pain in your chest after eating, like someone is squeezing your insides? It’s possible that it could be caused by a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. This can cause severe pain, gas, bloating, and even heartburn.

Understanding Hiatal Hernias

Before we dive into how hiatal hernias can cause pain after eating, let’s first understand what they are. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates your chest cavity from your abdominal cavity. It plays an important role in breathing as well as keeping certain organs – such as the stomach – in place.

So what happens when there’s a hole or weakened area in the diaphragm? That allows for parts of the stomach to herniate or bulge out through this opening and into the thoracic cavity (aka chest). And voila! You now have yourself a hiatal hernia.

There are two types of hiatal hernias: sliding and paraesophageal. Sliding hiatal hernias are more common and occur when your stomach slides up into your chest via this newly formed opening within the diaphragm with each swallow.Essentially creating space with no need for spring cleaning! Paraesophageal hiatal hernias happen less frequently but require surgical intervention because unlike sliding type they can lead to complications if not treated appropriately.

Linking Symptoms & Causes

Okay so you may be thinking “I have these symptoms but why would I get a hiatal hernia?” Well there isn’t necessarily one answer but factors such as age (over 50), being overweight or pregnant(easier said than done) , smoking (cough cough) alcohol abuse( Pour me another!) or enduring constant strain from lifting heavy object (time to hit the gym) have all been linked with hiatal hernias. Some people may not even know they have a hernia until symptoms start to appear especially after consuming large portions of food.

Is Post Meal Hiatal Hernia Pain Common?

To put it simply, Yes. That being said, one of the most common complaints associated with hiatal hernias is post-meal pain which can be experienced as chest pressure and fullness that peaks within an hour after eating but could potentially take longer(the wait sure is frustrating). This sensation happens because as food enters the stomach, it causes swelling within its confines . While regular muscular contractions in your esophagus help move food down toward your stomach ,the part affected by your protruded organ damages nerve endings causing discomfort when digesting large meals(sounds like a party pooper).

In severe cases, where blood flow to your digestive system has become obstructed by this bulged-out portion called “strangulation,” you might experience intense abdominal pain combined with persistent vomiting( now we aren’t having fun anymore huh?). In such cases emergency medical intervention becomes necessary!

Managing Hiatal Hernia Induced Discomfort

At-home remedies for reducing minor soreness can consist of avoiding acidic foods, taking smaller bites- and chewing well,breathing(deep breaths), staying upright after eating(so let’s forget about binge watching those TV shows lying down)! Basically allowing adequate time digestion before retiring(pun intended); If these measures don’t seem to do any good you may need prescription strength medication or possible surgical intervention resulting on the severity.Medications reliable in treating GERD(gastroesophageal reflux disease)are also sometimes utilized .

It’s important to stress that while experiencing occasional mild discomfort from heartburn or dyspepsia(mostly just fancy talk for feeling bloated/full)doesn’t necessarily mean you have a hiatal hernia.So when in doubt better check it out!


In summary, post-meal pain can be caused by a hiatal hernia when the bulging stomach presses against surrounding organs as food is processed .

It’s common to feel discomfort after eating especially larger meals with symptoms manifesting as chest pressure and fullness that spikes within an hour. In some circumstances severe cases requiring medical intervention (strangulation) could present themselves.

As discussed above, methods such as avoiding acidic foods,chewing well/breathing,staying upright after meals and medication could greatly minimize this pesky ailment so “don’t worry…be happy”!

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