Home Remedies for Hiatal Hernias


Hiatal hernia symptoms can be relieved by self-care measures, home remedies or medications. Surgery may be required for a very large hiatal hernia.

April 19, 2018

Hiatal hernia is a condition where the upper part of the stomach that normally is located just below the diaphragm in the abdomen pushes through the esophageal hiatus to rest within the chest cavity.
Esophageal hiatus is a hole in the diaphragm through which the esophagus (or food tube which connects the throat to the stomach) enters the abdomen after passing passes through the chest. A small hiatal hernia usually doesn't cause problems and can not be diagnosed until it is discovered when checking for another condition. But a large hiatal hernia can allow food and acid back into your esophagus causing heartburn. These symptoms can be relieved by self-care measures or medications. Surgery may be required for a very large hiatal hernia.
Simple home remedies given below can help relieve the symptoms of a hiatal hernia.

Warm Water Remedy:

Drinking water itself has so many great health benefits. In particular, warm water in the morning followed by a simple exercise could do wonders in managing hiatal hernia.
The warm water serves as weight and stomach relaxant and also promotes sufficient blood flow thereby soothing your stressed stomach. Performing a simple exercises help stretch your diaphragm as well as open up your hiatus. As you drop down, the jolt helps pull out the stomach from your hiatus while the panting will help in tightening the diaphragm and closing up the hiatus. The procedure for performing this is given below:
  • As soon as you wake up, while you are still in the bed, drink a glass of room temperature or slightly warm water. It will help relax the stomach muscles and diaphragm and put some weight in the stomach.
  • After a few minutes, stand up and do a straight arm lift from the sides. Bend the elbows as well as so that your hands are touching your chest. Doing this will aid in stretching your diaphragm as well as opening your hiatus.
  • Next, rise up on your toes as high as possible and quickly drop down onto your heels. Do this several times in a row. This will help the weight of the water to pull the stomach down.
  • Finally, stand straight with arms raised up. Perform short and rapid breaths with an open mouth for about 15 seconds. This step is similar to panting which assists in tightening your diaphragm as well as closing the hiatus.
Avoid drinking coffee, tea, juice and cold water in morning.

Abdominal Self-Massage:

Massage has been seemed to have many benefits that include pain and stress relief, especially for abdominal issues such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Abdominal self-massage mainly targets the uppermost portion of your abdominal cavity thereby providing relief from discomfort and symptoms of hiatal hernia. It also helps strengthen the stomach muscles. To perform a simple abdominal self-massage, follow the steps below:
  • Look for a flat surface to lie on. This could be your bed or on the floor.
  • Assume a supine position by lying on your back. Try to be as relax as possible.
  • Locate your sternum or your breastbones where you can find your rib cage and put your finger below this area.
  • Apply a moderate downward pressure and slowly move your fingers towards your navel or belly button. Remember to maintain moderate pressure as you slide your fingers down.
  • Do this for 5 whole minutes.
Perform the abdominal self-massage two times a day, preferably in the morning and in the evening.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Although apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature, it produces an alkaline effect in the body. Hence is an excellent remedy to reduce symptoms like heartburn and acidity due to a hiatal hernia. You can add 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and sip it slowly before meals. You can do this whenever you have heartburn or acidity.

Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is a popular spice that helps calm and soothe the stomach. It can relieve abdominal pain and bloating, especially after eating a meal. It also works as a natural antacid.
Add half teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of hot water and then cover and steep for a few minutes. Drink this tea while it is still warm, 2 or 3 times a day. In addition, you can also include cinnamon in your cooking.

Chamomile:

Chamomile is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is a natural remedy for hiatal hernias for managing inflammation. It can soothe an aching stomach, treat heartburn and relax the muscles in the digestive tract.
Mix 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile in a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. You can also add honey, according to your taste. Strain and slowly sip your chamomile tea while it is warm. You can consume chamomile tea up to 4 times a day, especially between meals.

Baking soda or Sodium bicarbonate:

It is a natural antacid. It can provide quick relief from heartburn, the most common symptom of hiatal hernias.
Mix half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it immediately. Repeat as needed, but avoid drinking this solution in excess. Avoid this remedy if you have high blood pressure.

Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera is one of the best natural treatments for digestive problems caused by a hiatal hernia. It soothes the inner lining of the intestines and reduces abdomen pain. It also controls heartburn by reducing inflammation.
Drink one fourth cup of aloe vera juice about 20 minutes before eating a meal. Do not use more than 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel to make the juice as it may cause diarrhea.

Slippery Elm:

This herb is another effective remedy for a hiatal hernia which has soothing and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. It helps reduce stomach acidity and heartburn by coating the stomach with mucilage.
Mix one tablespoon of powdered slippery elm bark in one cup of hot water. Let it steep for about 10 minutes. Drink it twice a day, especially after eating your meals.

Change Your Diet:

To keep a close eye on your diet, always keep two things in mind. first to avoid foods that trigger or worsen the symptoms, and secondly lose weight, which will lessen the pressure on your stomach.   
Include whole-grain foods in your diet, followed by a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. You can also have lean meats but avoid spicy seasonings. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn, such as chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, spicy foods, fried foods, citrus fruits and tomato-based foods. You should add healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts, to balance your diet.

Additional Tips:

  • Eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than fewer large meals.
  • Have your dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before your bedtime.
  • After eating, take a short walk around your dining room or kitchen.
  • Do not lie down or bend right after having a meal.
  • Do not smoke cigarettes and avoid other tobacco products.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption or avoid it completely.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing around your torso.
  • Elevate the head of your bed 4 to 6 inches to prevent symptoms like heartburn and acidity. You can also use an acid reflux wedge pillow to reduce discomfort.
  • Avoid straining during bowel movements.