About this disease

What it is about

The esophagus is a long muscular tube that passes into the stomach after passing through the diaphragm. When the passageway widens due to age, obesity or a predisposition, the upper portion of the stomach can slip upward, causing the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach to malfunction. The result is reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus with the corresponding discomfort.


Depending on the portion of the stomach that slips up through the diaphragmatic opening, a distinction is made between different types of diaphragmatic hernia. In extreme cases, the entire stomach can slip upward and rotate on its own axis. We refer to this situation as thoracic stomach or upside-down stomach. As a rule, as the size of the diaphragmatic hernia increases, discomfort also increases.

Symptoms and consequences

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia may be absent altogether or may be noticed with varying intensity. These include a feeling of pressure behind the breastbone, heartburn, and chronic cough and even shortness of breath.

What we do for you

Examination and diagnosis

In addition to a detailed conversation to find out which typical and atypical complaints you have, we will take X-rays and perform a gastroscopy. This helps us to identify the type of hiatal hernia and thus guarantee the best possible advice regarding therapy.


If a hiatal hernia leads to disturbing symptoms, treatment is necessary. If only heartburn is present without other changes in the mucosa, a therapy attempt with medication is possible. However, if the discomfort is due to the size of the diaphragmatic hernia, surgery is necessary with reconstruction of the junction between the esophagus and the stomach and constriction of the diaphragm at the passage of the esophagus.

Responsible departments

Visceral Surgery


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