What causes a hiatal hernia?
There are many factors that can result in a hiatal hernia, but for most patients, the cause is unknown. It is possible that some people are simply born with a short esophagus or a large hiatus, or develop these conditions over time due to weakened tissue, or chronic scarring of the lining of the lower esophagus from acid reflux resulting in contraction or shortening of the overall esophageal length. Other causes include increased intra-abdominal pressure in the abdomen due to conditions such as obesity, pregnancy, chronic cough or straining during bowel movements. Experts also predict that patients who have gained a considerable amount of weight are at risk for hiatal hernia development, along with people over the age of 50 and people that are smokers.