Have you been suffering from heartburn, bad breath, dry coughs, chest pains, hoarseness and frequent episodes of belching? Did you recently start to experience problems with swallowing too? If so, our licensed practical nurses suggest that it’s best to visit a GI doctor because you could have what’s known as a hiatal hernia. And even though it’s a common, treatable, gastrointestinal condition, it can also be life threatening.
In order to determine if a hiatal hernia is at the root of your problems, a Florida GI doctor may conduct an endoscopy or barium x-ray. Based on what the physician sees, he or she may diagnose you with one of several different types of hernias. Two of the most common are fixed and sliding. However, there are other types too. From there, he or she’ll be able to offer recommendations on how to proceed.
In some instances, the most common types of hiatal hernias may be treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. For example, the doctor may put you on proton pump inhibitors and a portion controlled, alkaline diet. He or she may also suggest that you stop smoking and use either an adjustable bed or wedge pillow when napping. Our home health LPNs can help hiatal hernia patients deal with such issues.
In other situations, laparoscopic surgery or other invasive measures may need to be employed. The surgery will require general anesthesia and an average post-op recovery period of two weeks. Most of that post-op recovery period may be spent at home under the care of a licensed practical nurse. In general, it involves limited physical activity, dressing changes, basic wound care and the temporary adoption of a special diet. It’s also worth noting that some Florida GI doctors are known to recommend such surgical procedures for GERD sufferers too. For more information about hiatal hernias, laparoscopic surgery and other ways our licensed practical nurses in Florida may help, please contact us today.