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Are my breathing problems and Hiatus Hernia related?

I was diagnosed with an Hiatus Hernia eight years ago and take 40mg of Omeprazole twice a day. Last February I started having problems as in gulping when talking and feeling as if I was going to run out of breath whilst talking. This progressed to the feeling (and it's every breath) of not being able to fully breathe in or out. The doctors spent months telling me it was anxiety. I had my heart checked as I have SVT and also saw a Respiratory Consultant who after doing test said it was down to being 'de-conditioned. After he said that I joined Slimming World and have a Personal Trainer at the gym three times a week and am now over three stone lighter! I went through a period last year of having to sleep sat up as it was even harder to breathe. I've been able to sleep back on two pillows for months and then this week I had a bad night again. Last August I woke up and wasn't breathing. Have been checked for Sleep Apnea. The Clinic said could be due to Hernia-consultant says no way. Have had this sixteen months and counting. Does anyone have the same symptoms? Thanks.

52 Replies

  • gail40055

    Hi Gail,

    I was diagnosed with a small h.h. and have awful breathing problems as do many others it seems. Most drs. Wont admit here in uk but in usa they do.

    I feel breathless on exertion, talking, eating and just sitting at times. It varies in severity.

    Had a chest x ray clear, thoracic spine x ray chest sounded many times, no fluid and an ecg all ok.

    It seems you can get silent reflux which means you can breathe in acid which irritates the lungs. I also suffer pain in upper back, nausea and fatigue. Google lpr or silent reflux.

    I am underweight if anything so its not just a case of getting fit

    Ars you in u.k. as I really suffered yesterday as the air was heavy and hot



    • maria39241

      Hi Maria, Yes I'm in the Uk.  I've had a chest x ray and CT scan.  They found a nodule in one of my lungs but said it was nothing to do with the breathing problems.  I have to have another CT scan in September to make sure it hasn't got any bigger.  The only other thing that showed on my test results was that my Transfer Blood Gases were 57%-whatever that means.  I have to go back and see the Consultant in October regarding the second CT scan results.  I think he would have discharged me otherwise as he has put it all down to being unfit.  My Personal said it's bo*****s.  He said I wasn't that unfit when I started and I certainly aren't now!  Most of the time in the gym I cope.  I can tell I'm not taking deep enough breaths but I have to try and ignore it.  However recently I was on the bike and was told to do Level 5 for 3 minutes.  I couldn't do it.  I managed for 2 and said I'm doing no more than 2:30 ( and I don't give in easily).  It was making my breathing more and more difficult and was so pronounced I had to stop.  Had a decent night last night although it takes ages to get to sleep because I'm aware that my breathing's not right.  Thanks for replying.  Sometimes it just helps taling to someone who understands.

  • gail40055

    I have copied another discussion posted by gail400055 below as it seems to be a continuation of this discussion.

    I forgot to say the oxygen levels in my blood fluctuate.  They can be as high as 99 but can drop to 85.  I had an overnight test done and the average was 93.  My pulse is usually around 67 but has dropped to 51.  I have a feeling of something stuck in my throat and it crackles sometimes when I'm laid down which I would attribute to the hernia.  I am also thinking that oxygen levels etc may have something to do with it.  I don't know what type of Hiatus Hernia I have but am wondering if it's the rolling one as it would account for my breathing problems.  For most of this year I have had to take the morning Omeprazole earlier than normal as I wake up feeling sick.  Also I'm a very light sleeper and wake up many times through the night and for the last few months I wake up and my mouth is WIDE open.  Very strange.  Am going back to the doctors next Friday and am going to go down the Gastro route.  Just hope I don't have to have another Endoscopy!

  • gail40055

     Hi Gail i also have HH along with barrets and have shortness of breath issues im at a loss at the lack of knowlage with the GP and the lack of consern from the hospital i try to keep to the diet advised and take my meds  but still have pain inbetween shoulders and chest ,Ialso dont sleep well i dont know where we all need to go to get someone who knows how to answer our questions and its beyond me as we all have similar symptoms


    • melanie26657

      Hi Melanie, went to the doctors.  She looked at my notes from when I was diagnosed and has put me back on all my original meds.  I'd taken everything I was supposed to at first but then stopped some as i didn't need them and the Omeprazole was doing a really good job.  As yet nothing has changed symptom wise.  i came out of the appointment and decided enough's enough.  I have an appointment with a private Gastroenterologist on Friday.  I can't see that extra tablets are going to get my breathing back to normal.  Hopefully he will be able to shed some light on it.

    • gail40055

      Hi Melanie 

      I'm exactly like you barrets with hiatus hernia 

      Shortness of breath  I also have sore throat 

      And white tongue  and feel fatigued constantly 

      Saw my doc  now waiting for another 

      Endoscopy appointment .

      Gail  just like you I am apparently very fit 

       I have a physical job ,go to the gym regularly 

      And do lots of bike riding   But my breathing 

      Can be shocking

      some days I get out of breath walking up 

      The stairs 

      I am convinced this is the hiatus hernia . 

      I am very interested in how you get on 

      With your private appointment.

      Can you  please keep us updated .

      Many thanks and good luck 


    • john26554

      Hi John, will let you know how I go on tomorrow.  The appointment is at 5.45.  It must be the hernia causing the problems as I can't see what else it can be.  Logic says that if every breath feels restricted then something is physically pressing on my lung.  The s*** will hit the fan if I'm right because this started well over a year ago and I was ridiculed in the most part and told I could have a massive hernia and it wouldn't affect my breathing!  We shall see.

  • gail40055

    Hi Gail

    In my case I also had breathing problems. I thought it was anxiety , my doctors thought it was anxiety, but soon I realized it got a lot better when taking ppi's.

    Do you sleep with your bed raised? (not just the mattress or pillows, but the actual bed must be inclined?) This was a god sent tip for me. I can sleep normally ever since.

    Now I'm off daily nexium. I take it only when I get flare ups... so 2 or 3 times per year for a few days. 

    Hope the breathing issue gets solved with you! It's indeed frustrating to see some doctors dismissing this symptom (even though you find so many people that at some point or another, experience this!)

    Finally, another tip that worked for me is giving up on cycling and weight training. As soon as I do these, the reflux comes back for a few days.

    To keep fit now I just walk or jog or do sprints.


    • Mirador

      Hi Mirador,  My symtoms were out down to anxiety by the doctors for months.  At the beginning I had different symtoms-gulping in the middle of sentences and a feeling of a sort of pressure as if I was going to run out of breath when talking.  It then progressed to having to sleep sat up because I felt as if I couldn't breathe fully in or out.  My bed isn't raised but I will raise it.  I would like to continue with the gym as it's done me a lot of good.  I've been going since last October and have only had one session where I know I was getting some pain from the hernia.  I've been feeling sick since February on a morning when I wake up which had never happened.  Since last Friday I'm on three different medications but it's not helping.  Am just praying the consultant can help.

    • gail40055

      Hi Gail

      - Do you do weight lifting? or any exercises that increase your abdominal pressure? (abs, squats, leg raises, dead lifts, etc) 

      I was a 'hard core' weight lifter and fitness freak, but now I learned that walking and jogging was also ok. The pain was not worth it to continue with the weight lifting.

      - I know the symptoms. it's really frustrating to say the least. My heart would beat very hard just from walking down the stairs. I also had difficulties yawning which was surprisingly frustrating. And the most annoying was that my first doctor didn't seem to believe me. The second doctor was familiar with this.

      A course of nexium seemed to help (I haven't tried any other ppi's), but it took a while for the pills to kick in. It was not immediate relief. But 3 years after, I do feel I have my life back. I hope it will remain as that for many years to come. Else I'll search for an operation (nissen or linx)

      - Raising the bed (not just using wedges on top of the matress) is probably the biggest lifestyle change that helped me. At its worst moment, I couldn't sleep at all for a week and that was getting me crazy. (just reminding those moments make me shiver), But after raising the bed, about 20cms or 6inches, AND sleeping on the left side of my body,really brought it back. Now thank god I can sleep very normally.

       This is just an example how to do it. I myself used old encyclopedias and dictionaries lol .


    • Mirador

      Hi Mirador, yes I do weights but not up on what they're called lol!  I definately do squats and am very good at them if I say so myself.  Also Abs and the leg raises.  Not sure what a dead lift is but I probably do that as well.  I go to the gym three times a week for an hour but at least half an hour is cardio.  Not long to go now to my appointment...

    • Mirador

      Have had a very interesting consultation and yes, it IS possible if the hernia is big that it could be causing my breathing problems.  He has not received my referral from the doctors but is now gong to track down the report from my enoscopy and also look at a scan i had done last year as he says they won't have been looking at the hernia.  I have to phone his secretary in a weeks time.  He says he knows what he thinks but wants to gather all the information first.


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