Can a hiatal hernia and a flank hernia mask each other by opposite pulling?

Hernia Discussion Forums Hernia Discussion Can a hiatal hernia and a flank hernia mask each other by opposite pulling?


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      I have a painful bulge in my left flank that I can push in and out that my doctor diagnosed as a lipoma that I got an MRI of my lumbar spine for. Nothing showed up on MRI except moderate disc bulge, which is supposed to cause sciatica down my left leg but I don’t feel that that all. What I do feel is in intense pulling sensation in my left flank, like nothing is supporting my spine on that side. I also have the sensation that I can push my erector spinae muscle in and out. It also feels like there is an emptiness there. When I push in the bulge I feel so much better. My left flank constantly feels bloated and I cannot pass gas, only burp.

      The muscles in my back are so tight that it feels like they are pulling away from my spine. And the more I take muscle relaxers and anti inflammatories the more they tighten, which makes me suspect a hernia because when you have a hernia your muscles tighten involuntary around the defect. Lumbar hernias are rare and if they are not in a discrete sac they can be missed on imaging. Especially since it happened directly after the following incident.

      That same night I got the MRI I drank a bunch of water to get the contrast out or my system and ate way too much food. I had also gotten sick and vomited a few times a few months prior.

      The night of the MRI I felt an intense pressure in my abdomen like I have never felt before and got explosive diarrhea all of a sudden. I also felt a sharp tear across my epigastric area.

      The following day I felt nauseous, was constantly burping, and suffered from early satiety I also got pain between my shoulder blades and in my left shoulder blade that I’ve never had before. I also vomited. I suspected a hiatal hernia and called my G.I. doctor to see if we could schedule an endoscopy. He did the endoscopy and found gastropathy and bile sitting in my stomach, but he said that there was no hiatal hernia. Since this event I have gotten aspiration pneumonia on the same lung side as the bulge which I have never had before in my life.

      Since the psoas and other retroperitoneal muscles connect up to the median arcuate ligament of the diaphragm, if one has both a hiatal and a flank hernia couldn’t that cause both to be missed on imaging? It feels like my left posterior lower ribs are sliding down in the back with nothing to support them. It is incredibly painful.

      It also feels like my ribs are poking into my muscles in the back and sliding/not attached to muscle. But only in the back, not the front.

      I have been in severe pain for the last nine months with no answers. Because my symptoms don’t match up exactly to one thing my doctor and I both agree that there are likely multiple things going on and I’m just wondering if two different hernias could mask each other by causing the muscles to tense and pull in opposite directions, especially with the diaphragm. It feels like my bowel/stomach is being suctioned out of my back on the left side.

      I have thoracic pain/pulling as well as left flank pain. I have been in PT for months and it is not helping. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories are also not helping. Also GI symptoms and yes I’ve gotten a full GI workup. I’m so frustrated. I just want my muscles to no longer feel like they are ripping off.

      These also happen to be two of the only types of hernias that can’t be diagnosed via exploratory laparoscopy when imaging misses them. A diagnostic lap never goes into the retroperitoneal space or under the lesser omentum. So I don’t know what to do.

      But I am positive that if someone did a diagnostic laparoscopy in the retroperitoneal space they would find something. Surgeons are reluctant to do this though due to the proximity of the aorta and autonomic nerves.

      • This topic was modified 2 years ago by Terry.
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