Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Risk factors for esophagitis vary depending on the different causes of the disorder.
Factors that increase the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — and therefore are factors in reflux esophagitis — include the following:
- Hiatal hernia, a condition in which the stomach pushes through the opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus joins the stomach
A number of foods may worsen symptoms of GERD or reflux esophagitis:
- Tomato-based foods
- Citrus fruits
- Spicy foods
- Garlic and onions
- Mint-flavored foods
Risk factors for eosinophilic esophagitis, or allergy-related esophagitis, may include:
- A family history of the disorder, suggesting that a gene or genes may increase the risk of eosinophilic esophagitis
- A family history of allergies
Factors that may increase the risk of drug-induced esophagitis are generally related to issues that prevent quick and complete passage of a pill into the stomach. These factors include:
- Swallowing a pill with little or no water
- Taking drugs while lying down
- Taking drugs right before sleep, probably due in part to the production of less saliva and swallowing less during sleep
- Older age, possibly because of age-related changes to the muscles of the esophagus or a decreased production of saliva
- Large or oddly shaped pills
The primary risk factor for infectious esophagitis is poor immune system function due to such conditions as HIV/AIDS and certain cancers. Increased risk may also be due to certain cancer treatments, drugs that block immune system reactions to transplanted organs (immunosuppressants) and various immune system disorders.
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