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Fasting Tips for GERD Patients in Ramadan

By Isny Dewi R

17 May 2020

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For healthy people, fasting may not be a problem. However, it is different with people who have GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (digestive disorder that occurs when acidic stomach juices, or food and fluids back up from the stomach into the esophagus). They might feel anxious if they want to fasting, because their illness might recur.

It is natural for people with GERD to feel anxious if they want to fasting, because their bodies will not receive any intake, including medicines, for more than 13 hours. However, that does not mean that people with GERD cannot fasting at all. As long as they can adopt healthy lifestyle, fasting remains safe. Even fasting is proven to help relieve stomach acid.

Reporting from, a study published in Acta Medica Indonesiana - The Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine in 2016 revealed that fasting can relieve stomach acid.

The study was conducted on 130 people who have been diagnosed with GERD. 66 of them continue Ramadan fasting, while 64 others do not fasting. The result, people with GERD who fasting claimed to feel lighter complaints than those who did not fasting.

Apparently, it was caused by changes in diet and lifestyle during fasting. Fasting makes a person's dietary habit more organized, which is when sahur and break fasting.

In addition, fasting also keeps people with GERD from the desire to consume unhealthy snacks throughout the day such as chocolate, cheese, fried foods, spicy and sour foods that can trigger stomach acid. Restricting food intake from three to two also helps reduce the number of calories that enter your body.

Limited food intake during fasting will make your body destroy more fat than usual, so that body weight decreases. Food restriction can also reduce free radicals that are harmful to your body. By fasting, sugar and cholesterol levels are more controlled.

Not only it is helpful for your physical health, fasting also brings benefits for mental health. In addition to enduring hunger and thirst, when fasting you are also required to be able to withstand emotions and all bad thoughts, so that the mind is calmer and stress level decrease. With the reduced level of stress, the risk of increased stomach acid will be reduced.

In conclusion, fasting can make healthy people healthier, and in people who have certain medical diseases, such as GERD, can make their health condition better and more controlled.

So, if you are GERD patient, no need to worry anymore if you want to fasting. However, you should try to apply these tips so that fasting goes well.

1. Don't Miss Sahur
For people with GERD, skipping sahur can make stomach acid worse during the day, because the stomach will be empty for a long time. So, try to always sahur before fasting. Besides being a "provision" for your body during fasting, food that enters your body when sahur can also prevent stomach acid from rising into the esophagus.

After sahur, try not to lie down immediately. Try to do light activities. GERD patients can only lie down at least two hours after eating to prevent the increase in stomach acid.

2. Do Not Put off Iftar
After not eating and drinking for more than 13 hours, the condition of an empty stomach must be filled immediately. Do not delay to eat when it’s time to break fasting. The stomach needs food to be digested, so that the stomach acid produced can directly process the incoming food.

3. Eat Slowly
Feeling very hungry after fasting is certainly a natural thing. However, do not let this make you crazy and devour all food quickly. Foods that are not chewed properly can actually trigger an increase in stomach acid. So, eat slowly, so that the stomach can digest food well.

4. Eat with Small Portions
Even though you feel very hungry, try not to eat too much when breal fasting. Your stomach needs time to digest food. Eating with big portions or too full can also trigger an increase in stomach acid. 

You can consume warm water and dates or wheat bread for iftar. Avoid consuming cold drinks because it can stimulate the increase in stomach acid in people with GERD who have been holding hunger and thirst for 13 hours. In addition, avoid also consuming coffee, tea, and cow's milk (because they contain high-fat), both for sahur and iftar.

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Tips Puasa Bagi Penderita GERD