According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiatus_hernia
A hiatus hernia or hiatal hernia is the protrusion (or herniation) of the upper part of the stomach into the thorax through a tear or weakness in the diaphragm.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OR POSSIBLE CAUSES/CONTRIBUTORS OF HIATAL HERNIA?
I have done a quick internet search about haital hernia and the possible causes and risk factors, and it appears that the risk factors include being overweight, smoking, above age 50, and stress.
HOW IS HIATAL HERNIA DIAGNOSED?
It can be diagnosed through a gastroscopy test, and when the result of the test is out, the doctor will discuss the result with the person.
TREATING/PREVENTING HIATAL HERNIA THROUGH MAKING CHANGES IN DIET
We can avoid foods that cause heartburn, such as certain acidic food, spicy food, milk, etc, wherever possible. More information is found in this website "Treating heartburn naturally" under the last section on "Practise Good Eating Habits Regularly".
This website recommends drinking aloe vera juice twice a day, among other suggestions. http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/askquestion/12951/health-advice-on-hiatus-hernia-treatment-for-hiatu.html
TREATING/PREVENTING HIATAL HERNIA THROUGH EXERCISES
This website suggests relaxation exercises http://drbenkim.com/articles/hiatal-hernia-treatment.htm
In the following website, someone made an interesting suggestion for a simple fix through a series of exercises that involve drinking warm water first thing in the morning and doing squating exercises regularly as often as necessary.
06/19/2010: Tom from Regina, Sk replies: "This ongoing fix for a hiatus hernia comes from the 'Alternatives' health tips of Dr. David Williams.
First, a Simple Test:
It's not foolproof, but some doctors have their patients take a deep breath and hold it for 40 seconds. If you can't hold your breath for that long, and there are no other problems,then a hiatus hernia is a possibility.
A Simple Fix
If the top portion of the stomach is stuck up above the diaphragm, then the obvious answer is to get it out. This can be done in two steps:
Drink about a glass of either room temperature or slightly warm water when you get out of bed first thing in the morning. (No coffee, no tea, no juice, no cold water, just warm water.)
Then, while standing, bring your arms straight out from your sides and bend your elbows so that your hands are touching your chest. Then stand up on your toes as high as possible and DROP down onto your heels, rather like a weightlifter's squat! You should force a pretty good jolt. Drop down like this 10 times in a row. Then, while standing with your arms up, pant short quick breaths for about 15 seconds. That's it.
The warm water acts like a weight in the stomach. Warm water doesn't cause the stomach to cramp, but instead it relaxes it. Spreading your arms stretches the diaphragm and opens up that hole in the back. Dropping down on your heels jerks the stomach out of the hole, and the panting tightens up the diaphragm muscle to close the hole.
You need to do this exercise every day - not just until everything feels normal. This will also strengthen the area, and make the hiatal hernia less likely to come back.
Try it! It costs nothing."
Doing abdominal exercises, such as sit-ups at moderate levels, can help treat and/or prevent hiatal hernia, as they help strengthen abdominal muscles.
"Certain exercises will provide relief from your symptoms, possibly forever. One activity is simply walking. Walking at a brisk pace, using good posture and holding in your abdominal muscles, can really help relieve the pressure you feel in your chest. Because you are holding yourself upright and bouncing slightly, your stomach can slide down back into place. Walking also provides stress relief, which will lower your stomach acid production and keep your stomach from clenching. Stress is a contributor to hiatal hernia. Any abdominal exercise, like sit-ups, will help strengthen the muscles in the area if done in moderation. Don't do the extreme-type crunches because too much force can actually worsen your condition. Take it slow and easy, looking for gradual results. Yoga and Pilates may be beneficial because they aim to strengthen the entire organism, especially the core muscles.
TREATING/PREVENTING HIATAL HERNIA THROUGH LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Avoiding people and/or situations where there are low vibrations can help relieve and/or prevent stress.
Here's sharing another relevant information that I thought is useful for treating and preventing hiatal hernia naturally. I learnt that poor sitting positions/postures may also cause or contribute to the condition.
This website says changing to a squatting position when using the toilet for defecation can even help to remedy the hiatus hernia problem, as it would decrease straining and ease pressure on the stomach.
"According to Dr. Denis Burkitt, "Hiatus hernia has its maximum prevalence in economically developed communities in North America and Western Europe ... In contrast the disease is rare in situations typified by rural African communities." Burkitt attributes the disease to insufficient dietary fiber and the use of the unnatural sitting position for defecation. Both factors create the need for straining at stool, increasing intraabdominal pressure and pushing the stomach through the esophageal hiatus in the diaphragm."
This website supports the findings, and suggests how people can adopt a safe squatting position in toilet which is more natural and comfortable position to empty the bowels.
TREATING/PREVENTING HIATAL HERNIA THROUGH CHIROPRACTIC THERAPY
Besides diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, chiropractors can help in healing hiatal hernia.
There are some testimonies in this website on how chiropractors have helped to heal hiatal hernia.
This video demonstrates how a chiropractor helps someone to find relief from heartburn.
In the same website http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/hiatal-hernia.html someone shared a testimony on how hiatal hernia can be healed by a chiropractor.
I think based on these testimonies, it is worth considering seeing a chiropractor. Otherwise, one can still apply the above-mentioned natural remedies, in the areas of diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, that are customised to one's specific needs.12/20/2010: Kauai_syren from Mendocino, Ca replies: "To the person who is suffering Hiatel Hernia with no luck:
Have you thought about the possibly that you could be gluten intolerant? I am gluten intolerant and suffer hiatel hernias when I am exposed to gluten... Also, both my left and right ileocecal valves open up. This causes a lot of pain and I suffer....! However, I am very lucky and blessed as I have a wonderful doctor that always seems to fix me. She is a doctor of chiropractic and an applied kinesiologist specializing in nutrition and food allergy testing. She is also celiac (allergic to gluten). If you are intrigued and want to know more, please take your chance! Being gluten free changed my life. I don't know what I would have done if I had not made this change. It is hard, but is there really any price to pay for feeling healthy?"