Dubai: Digestive conditions including heartburn, indigestion and increased acid levels are on the increase during Ramadan, said specialists who estimate that such cases double during the fasting month.
The triggers for digestive disorders are a combination of factors like fasting for several hours and overeating during iftar, sleeping immediately after suhoor (meal before sunrise), consuming large quantities of caffeinated beverages and oily, deep-fried or spicy foods.
Speaking to Gulf News, specialists in gastroenterology explained that common conditions during the month are gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) in which contents from the stomach flow backwards into the oesophagus or gullet, and gastritis in which the stomach lining becomes inflamed and irritated.
They explained that moderation while ending the fast and delaying suhoor can help prevent such digestive conditions.
Dr Mazin Al Jabiri, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Mediclinic, Dubai Mall said, some of the symptoms that residents report include pain and discomfort in the abdomen and chest area with a few reporting pain in the back of the throat (due to increased acid level).
“This week alone I have seen 10 cases of gastritis and one case of severe vomiting due to excess of fried and fatty foods. Conditions like GORD, gastritis and constipation are common. Excessive acid could lead to peptic ulcers. Certain spicy foods or foods rich in fat and carbohydrates could aggravate symptoms of GORD,” said Dr Al Jabiri.
To keep digestive disorders at bay, he said, “One should stop eating at least two to four hour prior to bedtime so the digestive system can function properly.”
One advice to reduce triggers, Dr Jayakumar B Kannan, Specialist Gastroenterologist at Aster Medical Centre Deira said to avoid foods that may irritate the digestive tract and reduce diuretics (ingredients that increase urine).
“Caffeinated drinks in particular such as coffee are diuretic, causing the body to increase urine. The increased water loss could lead to dehydration,” he said.
In general, Dr Kannan said residents should avoid alcohol and tobacco and food that are acidic in nature. Due to the extended fasting period, slow digesting foods like wheat, oats, beans, lentils, whole meal products, and brown rice, among others, are recommended.