Gastrointestinal health in Ramadan with special reference to diabetes

J Pak Med Assoc. 2015 May;65(5 Suppl 1):S68-71.


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, with indigestion, bloating and heartburns being more common, particularly after eating too much at lftar or Suhur meals. Eating in moderation and elimination of foods that can trigger gastroesophageal reflux are helpful. Empiric therapy with a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is recommended in this setting. Duodenal ulcers and duodenitis are more common during Ramadan and the frequency of complications of peptic ulcer is higher. Patients with duodenal ulcer treated with PPI may fast without any symptoms. Ramadan fasting does not impose serious risks on patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Chronic hepatitis patients show non-significant changes in the liver function tests. However, patients with advanced liver disease may decompensate. As gastrointestinal and liver ailments tend to be more common and severe in diabetics compared with the normal individuals, extra vigilance is needed for the people with diabetes who are allowed to fast by their physicians.

Keywords: Diabetes, Ramadan, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Peptic ulcer, Gastrointestinal disease, Liver disease..