Risk Factors for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
A risk factor makes the chances of getting a disease or condition higher. You can have GERD with or without any of those listed below. But the more risks you have, the higher the chances of GERD.
Talk to your doctor about the steps you need to take to lower your risk.
The most common is a lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that doesn’t work as it should. The LES may:
- Not stay closed when it’s supposed to
- Relax at the wrong time
Your chances of having LES problems are higher if you:
- Take certain medicines such as those used for asthma, high blood pressure, or depression.
- Have a hiatal hernia —The top part of the stomach presses up into the chest. This makes the pressure in the stomach higher.
- Are pregnant—Places higher amounts of pressure on the stomach. After the baby is born, the problems tend to stop.
- Are overweight —This adds more pressure on the stomach.
- Smoke—Weakens the LES.
- Have conditions that weaken esophageal muscles such as scleroderma.
- Have nervous system problems.
- Have a nasogastric tube—The tube passes through the LES.
- Had surgery on or an injury to the nerve that controls the LES—not as common.
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Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD Last Updated: 8/20/2018