Fasting in the month of Ramadan can improve a person’s health, but if the correct diet is not followed, one is prone to acquire some ailments related to the digestive health. Dyspeptic symptoms are frequently encountered during Ramadan including GERD, indigestion, bloating and heartburns, particularly after eating too much at lftar or Suhoor meals. Eating in moderation and elimination of foods that can trigger gastroesophageal reflux is helpful.
Gastrointestinal problems tend to be more common and severe in people with diabetes compared with the nondiabetic population. Therefore, extra vigilance is needed for the people with diabetes who are allowed to fast after consulting their physicians.
When people with peptic ulcers fast for long, the acids in the stomach can cause pain – this is a common issue with such cases. The condition is not fatal and can be managed with right medical support and care. A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the upper digestive tract. There are two types of peptic ulcers, a gastric ulcer, which forms in the lining of the stomach, and a duodenal ulcer, which forms in the upper part of the small intestine. Stomach ulcers occur when the thick layer of mucus that protects your stomach from digestive juices is damaged. This makes the digestive acids to eat away at the lining tissues of the stomach. The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the area between your chest and belly button. Normally, the pain will be more intense when your stomach is empty and it can last for a few minutes or several hours. Other, less specific symptoms of stomach ulcers include bloating, burping, acid reflex, heartburn (burning sensation in the chest). The pain lessens when you eat or drink.
Some foods can make ulcers worse, while some provide a preventive and healing effect. Greasy and acidic foods are most likely to irritate your stomach, as are spicy foods. To reduce ulcer pain, avoid coffee, including decaffeinated coffee, carbonated beverages (soda), chilies and hot peppers, processed foods.
Adopt a moderate approach when breaking your fast, eat in smaller portions, but more frequently. For instance, start off with dates and light food before giving it a rest after Maghrib prayers, followed by the main meal prior to Taraweeh prayers. Do not sleep straight away after Suhoor as this can result in acid reflux. Drink lots of water to replenish the daily losses, which we unconsciously lose via breathing, sweating and going to the toilet.
For patients who are on long term medications, discuss with your doctor about any necessary changes, for example, splitting the dose to optimize the medication effect. Do not let fasting affect your compliance towards your medication.
Eating habits to consider
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