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Is acid reflux serious?

By Roberto Inglese, M.D.


It’s known by many names … acid reflux, heartburn and GERD. But is it serious? What can you do to get relief?

Everyone experiences heartburn from time to time, and it can often be managed with over-the-counter antacids and by avoiding foods that trigger it. But when heartburn happens on a regular basis (say several times a week) or it’s extremely painful, it’s time to seek medical help.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus. If left untreated over time, it can lead to more serious conditions like ulcers in the esophagus or pre-cancerous conditions (Barrett’s esophagus).

Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:

  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), usually after eating, which might be worse at night
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat

If you have nighttime acid reflux, you might also experience:

  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • New or worsening asthma
  • Disrupted sleep

If your symptoms are severe or you take over-the-counter medications more than twice a week, contact us at Valley Gastroenterology Associates.


Dr. Roberto Inglese maintains certification in Gastroenterology by The American Board of Internal Medicine. He practices at Valley Gastroenterology Associates in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.