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6 Conditions That Increase Your Risk of Developing GERD

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition that many Americans live with every day.

That burning in your chest and bitter taste of stomach acid regurgitated back into your mouth can be a rather unpleasant end to an otherwise delightful dinner.

If you want to avoid it, or discover what might be causing its symptoms, here are 6 conditions that may increase your risk of developing GERD.

A Malfunctioning LES

The Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) is the tiny valve between the stomach and the esophagus. The esophagus carries food from our mouth to the stomach. If this valve is not functioning properly and does not close completely, it can allow the stomach contents back up into the mouth. This constant process can damage the tissue in the esophagus and the person’s teeth.

This can happen if the LES becomes weak. It can also be due to certain medications or the food and drinks an individual consumes.

woman holding her chest with GERD

Obesity/Being Overweight

When a person is overweight, there is extra pressure on their abdomen that often causes the symptoms of GERD to be even worse. Women who are pregnant suffer from this same issue. In addition, pregnancy increases the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which both tend to weaken or relax the LES.


Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder that affects connective tissues in the body like the esophagus. It causes affected areas to become hard or fibrous, and in the case of GERD it can cause esophageal dysfunction.


This is a condition in which there is delayed stomach emptying, and it is often found in people with Type 1 Diabetes. When the stomach does not empty properly and digest the acid, it can cause extra pressure in the stomach resulting in an increased risk of developing GERD.


COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease can increase your risk of developing GERD. In addition, when you have GERD, it makes your COPD symptoms even worse.

Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia causes a bulge at the top of the stomach into the diaphragm. This lowers the pressure on the LES causing reflux.

Other Contributing Factors

Scientists believe that genetics plays a part in your risk of developing GERD. Lifestyle choices like smoking plus the foods you eat and drink all contribute to your risk for GERD. Many prescription medications can cause or make the symptoms worse.

See Agave Surgical Specialists for treatment if you suffer from the symptoms of GERD. You can schedule you appointment online, or contact our Chandler or Mesa offices by phone

COVID-19 Update

The providers and staff here at Agave Surgical Specialists want you to know that we are here for you.

In efforts to keep our patients safe and healthy during this time, we are offering telemedicine visits for certain diagnosis.  If you are interested in utilizing telemedicine for your visit, please let our friendly staff know at the time you are making your appointment!

Agave Surgical Specialists is closely following the most up-to-date announcements and information on the known cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Because this information is always changing, we will be monitoring all updates from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control. 

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please make sure to contact us via phone prior to your appointment. You may also contact us for any additional questions by calling one of our offices.

Here are a few additional resources as well: 

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control

Agave Surgical Specialists