A diaphragm fracture is
common. Many people have a diaphragm fracture without knowing it because it does not always cause complaints. The diagnosis is therefore often made by chance. In the Western world, about 40% of people over the age of 60 have a diaphragm fracture. Congenital diaphragm
fracture Sometimes children are born with a very severe form of a diaphragm fracture.
Due to an oversized opening in the diaphragm, various organs are often in the wrong place in the abdomen/chest. This can cause organs to become trapped. This congenital, life-threatening condition is called Congenital Hernia Diaphragmatics (CHD). Both the complaints and the treatment are completely different with a CHD. This condition is therefore not discussed further on this website. Cause of
diaphragm fracture A diaphragm fracture can be congenital, but it can also occur later in life.
Possible causes of a diaphragm fracture are:
An accident or slackening of the muscles.
Sagging diaphragm. As people get older, the muscles in the body can slacken a bit. If the diaphragm slackens, the opening in the diaphragm can widen, causing a diaphragm fracture.
Complaints and symptoms of
diaphragm fracture A diaphragm fracture in itself does not cause any complaints. Often a diaphragm fracture is discovered by chance. Complaints can occur if the stomach partially rises due to the opening in the diaphragm. As a result, the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach may not close as well. Stomach contents can then easily flow up into the esophagus. This is called heartburn. The medical name for heartburn is 'reflux'.
If stomach contents flow up in the esophagus, you may experience
symptoms. Gastric juice contains hydrochloric acid, among other things; a very aggressive acid. The stomach wall is resistant to this aggressive acid because the stomach is coated with a thick mucous membrane layer. The esophagus doesn't have such a thick protective layer.
If gastric juice regularly comes into contact with the esophagus wall, you may experience
symptoms. For example, a painful or burning sensation near the sternum. This pain can radiate to the back. An irritated throat, cough complaints and regurgitation also occur. If stomach contents flow up frequently or for a long time in the esophagus, esophageal inflammation may occur. Due to prolonged esophageal inflammation, a permanent change in the tissue of the esophagus can be made at the hour. This is also called a Barrett esophagus. Detailed information about a Barrett esophagus can be found elsewhere on this website.
Heartburn symptoms are
common. Sometimes the complaints are the result of a diaphragm fracture, but there are also other possible causes. Detailed information can be found in the brochure 'Heartburn'.
Diagnosis of diaphragm fracture The diagnosis can be made in several ways: X-ray examination (swallowing photo).
For this study you will be given a contrast agent to drink. The esophagus and stomach are then clearly visible on an X-ray.
A look at the stomach (gastroscopy). This examination is done using an endoscope. An endoscope is a flexible hose on which a small video camera and a light are attached. The doctor inserts the endoscope through your mouth and esophagus into the stomach. The inside of the stomach can be viewed so well. When the stomach is partially in the chest cavity, the doctor sees a kind of 'upper stomach' during the examination. Treatment of diaphragm
Medications In most cases, heartburn symptoms are treated with medications.
The doctor can prescribe different medications depending on the severity of the complaints. Antacids make the gastric juice much less acidic. Damage or inflammation of the esophagus is therefore given the opportunity to heal. New damage and inflammation are prevented by the use of antacids.
In severe cases, when people do not benefit from the medications and rules of life, the doctor can
propose surgery. This anti-reflux operation is a major operation that does not always have the desired effect. During the operation, the upper part of the stomach is 'twisted' around the underside of the esophagus like a kind of cuff. The stomach can then no longer rise due to the diaphragm fracture. Elsewhere on this website you will find more information about this 'anti-reflux operation'. Tips and advice in
case of diaphragm fracture In case of a diaphragm fracture, you can do a number of things yourself to reduce the symptoms.
It is particularly important to prevent obesity and constipation. Being overweight and constipation give an increased pressure on the stomach. This can easily cause the stomach to rise due to the diaphragm fracture.
You can prevent constipation by eating healthily and high in
fiber. In addition, it is important that you drink enough and exercise regularly. The same applies to obesity: eat healthy and varied and exercise and exercise a lot. Do you want to lose weight? Consult a dietitian, who can help you to gradually lose weight. The following rules and dietary advice apply to
heartburn: Increase the headboard of your bed by about 10 cm.
If you need to bend down, lower your knees and do not bend over.
Ensure a healthy body weight.
Eat enough fiber, drink enough and exercise regularly to avoid clogging.
Don't eat or drink for the last three hours before you go to sleep.
Avoid large and fatty meals, prefer to eat smaller portions throughout the day.
Avoid alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, citrus fruits and sharp herbs.
Avoid tight clothing, at the level of the stomach.