What is a hiatal hernia?
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper stomach area protrudes through an opening in the diaphragm, called a hiatus. This opening is the hole through which the esophagus enters to become the stomach.
In many cases, this can be corrected in the initial phases with lifestyle changes, medication or some other type of conservative treatment, while in the event that it is too large or causes serious symptoms that we will mention later, the best option is carried out laparoscopic hiatal hernia operation.
One of the main problems of hiatal hernia is gastroesophageal reflux, in many cases the intervention of hiatal hernia is considered an antireflux surgery. Gastroesophageal reflux is a chronic problem if left untreated that can cause very serious problems.
Difference between hiatal hernia and gastroesophageal reflux (GER)
It must be clear that hiatal hernia and gastroesophageal reflux are not the same condition. A hiatal hernia can promote gastroesophageal reflux and in a large number of cases it is related. But it can occur even if there is no hernia. Gastric reflux can appear with pregnancy or obesity, given the pressure exerted on the abdomen and stomach, causing the appearance of reflux, but without the need for a hiatal hernia.
The symptoms of this situation will be very similar. The most common being heartburn, dry cough and abdominal discomfort. The guidelines that we explain below can be valid for both cases, both for patients after hiatal hernia and for those suffering from gastroesophageal reflux.
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General recommendations to keep in mind
In order to avoid the discomfort of the situation and to alleviate it, you have to take care of yourself a little more. Here are guidelines that help maintain healthier habits and help re-educate the way you eat. The specials usually give the following basic indications:
- Weight loss whenever necessary. This measure is very important as it helps to improve symptoms, taking pressure off the abdomen after surgery.
- Avoid large meals. Eating large meals makes proper digestion difficult, since food remains in the stomach for longer and causes the appearance of reflux. So it is recommended to eat lighter meals, having 5 meals a day. It is also preferable to eat these foods slowly and chew well.
- Try not to eat anything before going to sleep, not even liquids. It is recommended to have dinner at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Softer and healthier cooking, such as boiled, papillote, steamed or baked. Above all, you have to avoid battered or fried foods. In addition, food cooked on the grill should be monitored. In case the food burns, they can cause irritation in the stomach.
- Another key to avoiding stomach irritation is to be careful with very hot or very cold foods, since extreme food temperatures can also affect the stomach after eating the food.
These indications to take into account should be consulted in any case with the doctor who is treating the case. Since they can vary and must be adapted to each patient.
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Recommended foods for weight loss after hiatal hernia surgery
Before showing the foods that can be consumed and are advised after the surgery of hiatal hernia. Allergies and intolerances must be taken into account, therefore, these nutritional guidelines should be consulted with a specialist.
Among the foods that are recommended to consume to relieve or prevent hiatal hernia are the following:
- Lean, low-fat meats: It is recommended to remove all visible fat before cooking.
- Fish: The most recommended is white, because it is more easily digested.
- Dairy: Avoid all those that are fatty, choosing the skimmed or semi-skimmed ranges, such as: yogurts, not enriched with cream, fresh cheese, creamy cheeses (little fat), cottage cheese, curd, yogurt mousse or kefir. In addition to reducing saturated fat, this dairy intake promotes weight loss after hiatal hernia surgery, improves symptoms and improves health.
- Eggs: The most recommended preparations that facilitate their digestion are scrambled, in an omelette, poached or boiled.
- Cold cuts: Chicken and turkey cold cuts can be eaten, eliminating any visible excess fat that may exist.
- Legumes: Consume in small quantities, well cooked and without fatty accompaniments, such as bacon or chorizo.
- Vegetables and vegetables: They can be consumed all except flatulent ones, such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, artichokes, onion, raw pepper, …
- Fruits: When consuming them, make sure that they are fresh, very ripe and not acidic. The consumption of apples, pears or pineapple is also recommended as long as they are very ripe, they can be prepared as a smoothie, roasted, compote or pureed.
- Fats: You can consume fats such as olive oil and seeds, they are easier to digest, however, it is not convenient to abuse their amounts. It is recommended to consume butter or margarine better in raw since they are better tolerated without applying cooking. Regarding the consumption of mayonnaise, it is better to be light, since it provides less belly fat than normal.
Foods for weight loss after hiatal hernia surgery
There are other foods that can be consumed, but care must be taken when doing so, this is because their nutrients are not always easily digested and can cause heartburn or reflux. Therefore, it is recommended to have a moderate or low consumption of the following foods:
- Dairy: whole milk bearing in mind how it is tolerated by the body, other dairy products such as milk shakes (avoiding chocolate ones), custard, flan and rice pudding.
- Semi-fat meats and oily fish.
- Cold cuts: York ham or Serrano ham can be eaten, making sure that it is not very salty and that all visible fat is eliminated.
- Cereals: Sugary breakfast cereals such as cereals with honey, whole grains or muesli, always monitoring tolerance.
- Drinks: Non-acid packed juices and fruit in syrup without the juice.
- Other products: honey, industrial pastries, gelatin, ice cream or sorbets and nuts. They can be consumed, but care must be taken since they can cause discomfort caused by heartburn.
Habits and foods to avoid after hiatal hernia surgery
These foods should be consumed sporadically and in very small quantities, being better to avoid them since they may not sit well with the patient. Here’s why.
- Milk and dairy: condensed milk, strong, fatty, very ripe or fermented cheeses and dairy desserts with cream. It is because they slow down digestion, cause the appearance of reflux and can cause other discomforts.
- Fat, fibrous meats such as rabbit, meat cooked twice or highly seasoned, fatty sausages and organ meats, hard-boiled eggs, pickled or salted fish, such as cod or herring. As with dairy, meat or fish of this type are very heavy for the body, therefore, their digestion is slower and increases the chances of acidity.
- Cereals: Freshly baked bread should be avoided as it creates discomfort when fermenting inside the stomach. Cereals with chocolate, filled cookies, with chocolate or dipped in sugar They are also products that cause discomfort when consumed after the intervention or in cases of suffering from gastroesophageal reflux.
- Fruits: Unripe and raw fruit, acidic fruits, fruit in syrup, dehydrated and candied fruits. They promote heartburn, reflux and are difficult to digest.
- Drinks: Liquids such as coffee, including decaffeinated, carbonated drinks, or with coffee extracts, drinks made with chocolate, tea and any alcoholic beverage, these liquids irritate the gastric mucosa and increase acidity.
- Fats: cream, butter, bacon and tallow. They are heavy foods and therefore their digestion is slow, in addition to being unhealthy fats.
Other food recommendations to limit or avoid are:
Acidic foods should be limited, especially at dinner time. It is because after being consumed, they may feel discomfort in the stomach, some cases have this discomfort after eating products such as: tomato, vinegar, citrus, unripe fruits or yogurt.
It is recommended not to consume this type of food, at least until you have fully recovered from the hiatal hernia. Since foods such as garlic, onion or pepper, especially raw, promote discomfort.
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Other Helpful Diet Guidelines After Hiatal Hernia Surgery
To know a little more about the correct diet after the intervention of hiatal hernia surgery or in case of still suffering from it, it is recommended as a general rule, to choose the least fat cooking for the preparation of meals. Highlighting cooking such as: Cooked, boiled, steamed, poached, sautéed, grilled, baked and in Papillote.
- Fruits: They are more digestive when they are prepared roasted, in compote, or in the puree.
- The most suitable cooking for vegetables is cooked, without adding stir-fries or sauces.
- Legumes: Legumes can be cooked in puree, thus making the texture, lighter and easier to digest. You can also add a little cumin or fennel to the cooking, so that they are less flatulent.
- Fried: Although these should be avoided as much as possible, if this type of cooking is carried out, it is recommended to do it with little oil and of a mild type.
There are numerous options to make changes when it comes to flavoring the dishes. These possibilities are healthier and they help better digestion without losing flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar and lemon dressing can substitute for wine vinegar, which can be too acidic.
- Aromatic herbs can reduce acidity and flatulence can substitute for strong spices. Herbs like savory, fennel, bay leaf, green anise and oregano.
- Change ingredients that activate gastric juices such as garlic, onion or shallots, for dressings that strengthen digestive processes and facilitate digestion such as dill, capers, sage, rosemary, parsley, basil and thyme.
We insist that the recommendations are general. Therefore, the diet to be followed after the hiatal hernia surgery must be adapted to each case, since the patient may have allergies or intolerances. So the nutritional guidelines must be consulted and adapted to the patient.
So as a last indication, we recommend consulting a nutrition specialist since for a diet to be successful. It must be adapted to the tastes and needs of each person and never established in a general way.
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Request assessment and consultation for weight loss after hiatal hernia surgery
If you want to lose weight after hiatal hernia surgery, remember that you can request an evaluation. And consult with our nutritionist and gastroenterologist for free in the fitoont telemdicine platform. Your condition and you can determine the best option to get rid of the symptoms of hiatal hernia with permanent weight loss.