What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

Find out if your acid reflux and heartburn could be due to a common digestive disorder.

Do you find yourself cancelling dinner dates because you just know that a night of sushi or Mexican food is going to leave you with terrible heartburn? Are you dealing with acid reflux two or more times a week? Do you find yourself using heartburn medication regularly throughout the week? If you said “yes” to these questions you could be dealing with a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Fortunately, our Lehighton, PA, gastroenterologists Dr. Ahmed Hasan, Dr. Andrew Schwartz and Dr. Mahreema Jawairia can help.

What is GERD? 

Simply put, GERD is a digestive condition that causes chronic acid reflux. If you are dealing with symptoms two or more times a week it might not simply be acute acid reflux or heartburn; you could be dealing with GERD. This is when you should turn to our Lehighton, PA, GI team for an evaluation.

The problem with GERD is that treatment is required to heal damaged esophageal tissue and to reduce your risk for throat cancer (long-term complication of untreated GERD).  People with GERD may also experience,

  • Chest pain
  • Vocal changes or hoarseness (particularly in the morning)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sensation of food is stuck in the throat
  • Throat tightness
  • Dry cough
  • Vomiting

What are the risk factors? 

While this condition is quite common, there are certain factors that could increase your risk for GERD. You may be more likely to deal with GERD if you are,

  • Over age 40
  • Obese or overweight
  • Pregnant
  • A smoker
  • Taking certain medications (e.g. antibiotics; aspirin; NSAIDs; calcium channel blockers)
  • Dealing with a hiatal hernia

How is GERD treated? 

The goal of treatment is to help you manage your symptoms and reduce acid reflux flare-ups. This often involves prescription medication along with lifestyle and dietary changes. Treatments include,

  • Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger acid reflux (e.g. chocolate; coffee; citrus fruits)
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Losing excess weight
  • Eating smaller portions
  • Avoiding meals 2-3 hours before bedtime
  • Prescription medications such as proton-pump inhibitors or prokinetics
  • Surgery to strengthen the esophageal sphincter (surgery is recommended only if symptoms aren’t improved with nonsurgical treatment options)

Are you dealing with heartburn two or more times a week? Worried that you might be dealing with GERD? If so, turn to the gastroenterologists at Lehigh Gastroenterology Associates in Lehighton, PA. Call (610) 379-0443 to schedule an evaluation.

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Lehigh Gastroenterology Associates

Monday - Thursday:

8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 1:30 pm

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Northwestern Medical Center

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Every Other Month

12:00 pm - 4:30 pm

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Monday - Thursday, Saturday, Sunday:



First Friday of Every Other Month

10:00 am - 12:00 am

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10:00 am - 12:00 pm


What Our Patients Say About Us

  • "Dr. Schwartz is awesome. He takes time to really get to the bottom of your issues and he really cares."
    Cheryl B.