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What causes loss of appetite and shortness of breath when suffering from hernia?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 1290 Questions
I'm a 30 year old male, that is 6'3" @ 207 lbs. I have gerd and have been told that I have a hiatal hernia. Have had it for years, but in the past week, the lump has popped up under the sternum and added pressure. I have a little shortness of breath and no appetite. I have an appointment Wednesday. Is this normal for a hernia? Please help. Thank you!
Posted Tue, 18 Feb 2014 in GERD
Answered by Dr. Ashish Verma 12 minutes later
Brief Answer: yes, this is the presentation of this hernia. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for writing to XXXXXXX This is Dr. Ashish Verma, a general surgeon, answering to your query. The lump that has popped up under your sternum is your stomach which has herniated into your thoracic cavity through the defect in your diaphragm, so the effective volume of your stomach had reduced leading to loss of appetite, also the stomach portion in your thoracic cavity is compressing upon your lungs, leading to shortness of breath. If the shortness of breath increase, I would suggest that to show in the emergency room. Your hernia, needs surgery, and the earlier you get it done, the better it will be. Hope, that I have answered to all your queries. If you have further queries, I will be glad to answer them. Regards, Dr. Ashish Verma
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Follow-up: What causes loss of appetite and shortness of breath when suffering from hernia? 13 minutes later
the shortness of breath has gotten better. I still feel pressure and the lump. if I watch what I eat and drink, do you think it'll be fine until Wednesday? I know u can't see it, so that doesn't help. But after reading stuff I freaked out and was about to head to the ER tonight.
Answered by Dr. Ashish Verma 13 minutes later
Brief Answer: it has reduced a bit back then. you may wait. Detailed Answer: Hi, If the shortness of breath has improved a bit, then it means at a part of hernia has moved back into the abdomen. Yes, you may wait till wednesday, but you need to be very careful, dont lie dow for two hours after a meal, eat small and frequent meals, and while lying down put 2-3 pillows below your head. Avoid tea, coffee, soda drinks, spicy and fatty foods. But if it gets worse, then you will have to go to ER. Hope, that i have answered to all your queries. If you dont have further queries, you may close this discussion, and rate the response. Regards, Dr. Ashish Verma
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