What Is a Hiatal Hernia?

A hiatal hernia is a pouch-like structure at the junction of the esophagus and the stomach. The esophagus is the muscular tube connecting the mouth to the stomach.

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes up into a hiatus (opening) in your diaphragm. There are two types of hiatal hernias:

  • Sliding hiatal hernia: The more common type of hernia, this happens when part of the stomach and the juncture of the stomach and esophagus slide up into your esophagus through the hiatal opening.
  • Paraesophageal hernia: Less common, this type of hiatal hernia happens when part of your stomach pushes up through the hiatis into your chest, next to your esophagus.

Complications of a hiatal hernia can include: