What are Cameron Lesions?
A Cameron lesion is an ulceration or erosion occurring in a longitudinal manner in the mucosal folds of the stomach at the site where the thoracic diaphragm compresses it in patients with large hiatal hernias. Cameron lesions are linked with hiatal hernia, which is a condition where the stomach protrudes into the esophageal opening. Cameron lesions are actually complications related to hiatal hernia. If the hiatal hernia is small in size, then the patient may not have any symptoms; however a larger sized hiatal hernia produces symptoms and if this condition is left untreated, it can cause serious threat to patient’s life.
Cameron lesions can cause chronic blood loss leading to iron deficiency anemia. Acute bleeding can also result from Cameron lesions though this is less common. Treatment of the resultant anemia from Cameron lesions consists of iron supplements and proton-pump inhibitors. Some patients may need surgery to repair the hernia.
Cameron lesions are also known as Cameron erosions and Cameron ulcers.
What are the Causes of Cameron Lesions?
According to studies, around 5% of individuals having hiatal hernia can develop Cameron lesions. The reason for this is, in hiatal hernia, there is protrusion of the stomach out of the esophageal opening, due to which there is regurgitation of gastric juices and food into the esophagus leading to development of Cameron lesions. The regurgitation of gastric juices and food causes ulceration and erosion alongside the gastric folds of the hiatal hernia. Most of the times Cameron lesions are superficial and do not bleed; however, as the time passes, there can be inflammation and bleeding from Cameron lesions.
Cameron lesions can also be caused by irritation from mechanical trauma due to movement of the herniated stomach during respiration or from restricted blood supply to the gastric folds (ischemia).
What are the Symptoms of Cameron Lesions?
There may not be any specific symptoms of Cameron lesions, but symptoms tend to overlap with the hiatal hernia symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of Cameron lesions are:
Chest Pain & Burning: Pain in the chest and retrosternal burning are commonest symptoms indicative of hiatal hernia and Cameron lesions.
Nausea & Belching: Nausea and belching are also important symptoms of hiatal hernia and Cameron lesions. Patients can also experience difficulty in swallowing and breathing occurring because of bloating of the stomach and irritation at the esophageal opening.
Anemia: Cameron lesions can also exacerbate symptoms of hiatal hernia. Other than this Cameron lesions can also eventually lead to internal bleeding within the stomach resulting in iron deficiency anemia. If Cameron lesions are not treated on time, then it can cause a serious situation for the patient.
How are Cameron Lesions Diagnosed?
Cameron lesions can be diagnosed when patients present with symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, pallor and breathlessness. Blood tests reveal anemia.
Endoscopic evaluation, such as esophagogastroduodenoscopy, where a tube is passed through the mouth to visualize the upper part of the GI tract can be done to confirm the diagnosis of Cameron lesions. Performing an esophagogastroduodenoscopy can confirm the diagnosis of Cameron lesions as these lesions or ulcers can be seen with this procedure.
How are Cameron lesions Treated?
Medications: For healing of Cameron lesions or Cameron ulcers, medications which suppress gastric acid (proton pump inhibitors) will help in healing of the Cameron lesions.
Iron Supplements: Treatment for the iron deficiency anemia resulting from Cameron lesions is done with oral iron supplements, which the patient may need to take for years.
Surgery: Surgery may be needed to repair the hernia if the patient has refractory anemia and needs blood transfusions repeatedly. Surgery is also done if the patient has severe symptoms of Cameron lesions and hiatal hernia which are not responding to treatment.
Natural Remedies For Treating Cameron Lesions
Proper Dietary Schedule: It is important to follow a proper diet schedule and consume food regularly and on the same time. Patient should eat something every couple of hours and the interval between the meals should not be stretched, otherwise it can cause build up of gastric acid in the stomach that can enter the esophagus and lead to further erosion.
Cold Milk with Honey: Drinking cold milk helps in neutralizing the stomach’s acid content and helps in healing of Cameron lesions and alleviating the symptoms. A tablespoon of raw honey can also be added to cold milk and consumed. Honey has a soothing effect on the Cameron lesions and helps with their healing.
Cold Milk with Turmeric: Alternatively, turmeric can also be added to cold milk and consumed. Turmeric contains natural anti-inflammatory properties, which help in fighting the irritation and inflammation of Cameron lesions.
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