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Email: Reduce the symptoms, or treat the underlying cause?

Here we are going to describe some of the ways that you can start to feel better and reduce the symptoms of hiatal hernia such as: heartburn, acid reflux, persistent cough, a feeling of something that is stuck in the throat, or swallowing difficulties.

We’ll talk about what you can do to get some immediate relief, but mostly about how you can treat the underlying cause of your illness by strengthening the musculature in your diaphragm and throughout the entire swallowing process.

In our last email we went through what a hiatal hernia is and how it causes a variety of symptoms when it allows the neck of the stomach to slide up through the diaphragm.

This knowledge is vital to understanding the differences between the alternatives that we will now describe. Go back and read the last email again if you haven’t absorbed it yet.

Reducing the symptoms, or a long-term treatment?

To simplify, there are two ways to get rid of acid reflux, heartburn, swallowing difficulties, that feeling that something is stuck in the throat, and the other symptoms of hiatus hernia:

1.    Reduce the symptoms – which makes it feel better for a while, but does nothing about the underlying cause.
2.    Long-term treatment of the underlying condition – which will take 90 seconds per day for a number of months to have an effect, but that will actually address the underlying cause of the problem.

Even if you choose the latter, to address the underlying problem, it can be a good idea to work on reducing the symptoms too until your diaphragm muscle has become fully functional again.

Short-term relief

There are a number of ways to reduce your symptoms:

  • If you Google your symptoms or ask around on social media you’ll find suggestions for a number of home remedies, like drinking bicarbonate of soda in water to neutralise stomach acid, or eating almonds, etc.

    We can’t recommend home remedies from a scientific perspective, but most are risk-free if used in moderation and if you find something that makes you feel better – that’s good!
  • Another way to reduce the discomfort and pain of your problem is lifestyle changes. This might include losing excess weight, raising the head of your bed, avoiding heavy lifting, and not going to bed too soon after eating.

    Reducing the effect of the symptoms by lifestyle changes is not a bad thing in itself. On the other hand, if it intrudes on things that are important for you – good food, training, social events – then it is limiting.

    Hiatus hernia has a very negative impact on the quality of life of many, and hence it is desirable to find a long-term solution too.
  • A common way to reduce its symptoms is with antacid drugs, often called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), which a significant proportion of the population get on prescription. These medicines are very good in that they reduce the caustic effect of the stomach’s acids.

    When they leak upwards into the esophagus they do less damage to the vulnerable mucous membranes there. In some cases they are a necessity just to get through the day.

    On the other hand it is known that these drugs are not recommended for long-term use. In addition, they have a number of known side-effects that mean that they are not suitable for all.

    If PPI medication cannot help then the worst-affected may qualify for a surgical operation where the stomach is sewn down below the diaphragm. This reverses the hiatus hernia but carries with it risks and side effects.

    Today it is possible to treat the cause of the problem instead, and that’s what we come to now.

Long-term treatment of the underlying cause

To be free of your symptoms in the long term you have to do something about the underlying cause of the problem: the weakened diaphragm muscle that has lost the ability to hold your stomach in the right place and instead allows it to slide up into the chest cavity. And with all the problems that this causes further up in your body.

The diaphragm is part of an important set of processes that includes 148 muscles from the mouth to the stomach. Each part of this chain needs to work together quickly and in a synchronised sequence to transport food and drink from the mouth to the stomach – the so-called ‘swallowing process’.

When the diaphragm fails to do its job properly there will be problems further up the muscle chain too. This causes the symptoms of heartburn, reflux, ‘stuck in the throat’ sensation, persistent cough, thick frothy phlegm, blockage in the throat, and difficulty in swallowing some solid consistencies.

Quite simply, the diaphragm needs to be strengthened again.

Exercising with the IQoro neuromuscular training device addresses the underlying reason behind reflux, heartburn, persistent cough, swallowing difficulties – not just the symptoms.

Training is simple, requires no contact with the healthcare system and takes just 90 seconds per day. It only activates the body’s own natural network of nerve pathways and muscles without negative side effects, except maybe some muscle training soreness in the beginning. You activate muscles in your face, lips, oral cavity, throat, esophagus and diaphragm.

The diaphragm muscles strengthens and repairs, and your symptoms will reduce as you treat the underlying cause. After this, some level of light ‘maintenance’ training will be needed to keep the problem at bay.

As the symptoms recede you will be able to reduce or cease your medication, but note that changes in your intake of prescription drugs should be discussed with your doctor. Minimising PPI drug use where possible is recommended by health authorities.

Even if you’ve been taking PPI medication for many years, research studies show that more than 96% of people training with IQoro for 6 – 8 months have improved their condition. The improvement becomes noticeable successively as the musculature strengthens, and some reduction in symptoms is usually apparent after a few weeks.

We will explain more about IQoro training in our next mail which you’ll receive in a couple of days. If you want to now know, you can read here about how IQoro works.