After Hiatal Hernia Surgery

Recovery time

After laparoscopic surgery, most people will not experience much pain, but they may feel discomfort in their abdomen and chest and have difficulty swallowing. This usually passes within 48 hours.

After a laparoscopy, a person may be able to go home the same day if they have recovered from the anesthetic. Otherwise, they may spend a night in the hospital and should be able to walk around the day after the surgery.

A person may soon feel well again but may find that they tire easily.

In the days after surgery, a person will usually be advised to:

. Wash the incision area daily with plain soap and water

. Shower instead of bathing, and avoid the use of pools and hot tubs

. Walk about when possible to stop blood clots from forming in the leg

. Avoid drinking through a straw

. Practice specific breathing and coughing exercises to strengthen the diaphragm

In the weeks after surgery, we recommend the following:

. Avoiding any heavy lifting for 2 to 3 weeks

. Avoiding driving for 7 to 10 days

. Returning to work within 2 to 3 weeks, or whenever a person is feeling well enough

. Taking painkillers for several days after surgery to minimize discomfort

A person will need to follow a specific diet after surgery. It is advisable to drink clear liquids immediately after surgery and move onto soft or liquefied foods, including mashed potatoes, smoothies, and soups, the following day. A person should also avoid foods that cause gas and bloating.

During recovery, it might be a good idea for people to eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large ones.

Most people can return to their regular diet between 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.

Read more about : Femoral hernia recovery

However, even after a person makes a full recovery, their doctor may recommend they continue to limit or avoid foods that contribute to gas, bloating, and acid reflux symptoms, such as:

. Acidic foods, including citrus fruits and tomato products

. Alcohol

. Beans and lentils

. Carbonated beverages

. Corn

. Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower

Open surgery will usually require a lengthier stay in the hospital and an extended recovery time.

How effective is hiatal hernia surgery?

Nissen fundoplication is very effective for relieving symptoms of GERD. A 2009 study estimates that this surgery achieves a success rate of 90 to 95 percent.

The same study also suggests that even when the laparoscopic surgery has to be carried out again to control reflux symptoms further, the success rate is 86 percent.

The NHS in the UK estimate that 80 to 85 percent of people will continue to have relief from symptoms 10 years after surgery.

Foods to eat and avoid for a hiatal hernia

. Foods to eat

Non- or low-acidic foods will reduce the likelihood and severity of hiatal hernia symptoms. The best food choices for people with hiatal hernias are non-acidic, minimally processed, and contain dietary fiber.

There are some exceptions for those who have food intolerances. Elimination diets may be helpful for optimal improvement in symptoms.

Safe foods to eat may include:

. Leafy greens

. Beans and peas

. Whole grains

. Lean proteins, including tofu and fish

. Whole nuts and seeds

. Non-citrus fruits and juices

. Artichoke and asparagus

. Cinnamon

. Ginger

. Low-fat, non-sweetened dairy products

. Cardamom

. Coriander

. Apple cider vinegar

. Non-caffeinated teas, especially green teas

Fermented or cultured foods that are rich in probiotics (acid-neutralizing stomach bacteria) may also help reduce hiatal hernia symptoms.

Popular fermented foods include:

. Unsweetened yogurt

. Pickles

. Kimchi

. Kefir

. Quark

. Sauerkraut

. Kombucha

. Cheese

. Miso

. Tofu

. Tempeh

. Buttermilk

. Natto

It is important to note that consuming processed sugar alongside probiotics may be counterproductive. Sugar supports the growth of stomach microbes that destroy and consume probiotics.

This means that probiotic ice creams, juices, yogurts, sweetened protein powders, and gummies are typically not a good source of probiotics.

. Foods to avoid

Avoiding certain foods might help reduce and prevent symptoms of indigestion, including heartburn, bloating, gas, and regurgitation.

It is best for people with a hiatal hernia to stay away from foods that are acidic, rich, oily, or contain preservatives.

Foods to avoid may include:

. Fried or oily foods

. Fatty foods

. Red meat

. Caffeine

. Alcohol

. Cocoa and chocolate

. Tomatoes and tomato sauces

. Soft drinks and carbonated drinks

. Most types of mint, such as peppermint and spearmint

. Candies

. Sweetened juices or teas

. High amounts of cooking oils

. Garlic, onions, green onions, shallots, scallions, leeks, and chives

. Cucumbers

. High-fat dairy products

. Salty foods

. Deli meats

. Pre-prepared or fast foods

. Bread and cereals

Lifestyle tips

Aside from diet, a person could try making some lifestyle adjustments to help manage their hiatal hernia symptoms.

Lifestyle tips for treating hiatal hernia symptoms include:

. Staying hydrated

. Keeping a log of trigger foods and avoiding them

. Eating frequent, smaller snacks and meals spread throughout the day

. Eating slowly and drinking plenty of fluids with meals

. Getting enough dietary fiber

. Avoiding non-clear liquids within 3 hours before bed

. Avoiding eating before exercise

. Avoiding bending over or laying down within 3 hours of eating

. Wearing loose-fitting clothing

. Maintaining a healthy body weight

. Using a wedge pillow to elevate the head 8 to 10 inches while sleeping, making it harder for stomach acid to travel up the esophagus (food pipe).

. Quitting smoking

. Taking probiotics

. Eating whole foods instead of processed or refined foods

. Exercising moderately for at least 20 minutes daily

. Avoiding fried foods

. Using small amounts of healthful cooking oils, such as coconut, rice, and olive oil

. Avoiding being too hungry or too full

Drinking a small amount of diluted apple cider vinegar at the beginning of meals may also help reduce symptoms.

Managing stress and practicing stress-reducing strategies, such as walking, being in nature, mindfulness, meditation, or yoga, may help a person feel better.

A person can also take over-the-counter antacids, though long-term use does carry risks.

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