What is a hiatal hernia?
The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest cavity. It has an opening in the middle called the hiatus. The food pipe, or esophagus, runs through the hiatus in order for it to enter into the stomach. When the hiatus is enlarged, the stomach can bulge up into the chest causing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, reflux, chest pain, and trouble swallowing.