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Monday, August 9, 2010

Ramadan Fasting and Maag (Gastritis)

Ramadan is the ninth month of Islamic calendar. Ramadan is a time for Muslims to practice fasting for a month, where they do not eat, drink and sex from dawn until sunset.


Maag, in the medical world is better known as gastritis, is a situation where there is inflammation of the mucosa (lining) of the stomach surface. Excessive levels of stomach acid causes damage to the stomach wall. The result is stomach pains, nausea, bloating. Causes of gastritis include irregular eating patterns, digestive disorders, alcohol etc. This disease may recur if the patient was too late to eat.

Dr.H.Ari Fahrial SpPD Sham-KGEH, MMB, FINASIM stated as quoted by detikHEALTH, research does show that in the first week of fasting normal person will increase stomach acid after noon, and sometimes this situation raises pains.

But research shows this condition will be stable after the second week and up and down the stomach acid will back to normal one week after the fasting of Ramadan. An increase in stomach acid does not damage the stomach wall.

Therefore, for people who do not have any problems with the stomach, Ramadan fasting will not make they stomach became sick, otherwise the whole body will be healthy.

But what about those who had problems with they stomach? "It is advisable for them to fast because fasting will cure maag (gastritis)," said Dr. Ari, as quoted in the release, Monday (09/08/2010).

Explanations like this. Most people suffering from functional maag, which on endoscopy examination found no significant abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract.

maag gastritis

Functional maag is due to irregular meals, consumption of snacks that are not healthy for the stomach like food that contains chocolate and cheese and foods that contain oil, consumption of coffee and soft drinks throughout the day, smoking and living with stress.

In the group of organic maag that is the wound in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum are also encouraged to fast but it still remains to take medicine. Because the initial stages in treating maag is the regularity of meals, avoid snacking and foods containing chocolate, cheese and other fats and avoiding stress through self-control.

"This could happen if we go through Ramadan fasting. During fasting, our time to eat become regularly, ie at dawn and sunset. It is hard to do if we do not fast because of our busy, and also traffic jams make we lost  a lot of time on the road, so finally our mealtimes often become irregular. Unhealthy snack habits as well as for those who smoke would reduce unhealthy habits when they fast, "said Dr. Ari in his writings.

To avoid excessive discomfort, maag sufferers are encouraged to consume the stomach acid-suppressing drugs such as H2 receptor antagonist medications (Ranitidine, famotidine, simetidine, nizatidine) or proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole).

Drugs such as antacids, which is currently widely promoted both through print and electronic media, is not to prevent maag (gastritis). Antacid drugs only to relieve symptoms and it works only 6-8 hours, so the actual use to relieve symptoms arising from gastric disorders.

However, if patients are experiencing stomach bleeding, with symptoms of vomiting blood or black bowel movements, vomiting and recurrent vomiting at every meal, they were not allowed to fast. Even they must be treated in the hospital to cope with such gastric disorders. Patients with gastric cancer is also not recommended to fast.

"So clearly, the reason for not fasting because of fear of recurrent maag, is a made-up excuse so they can not fast," said Dr. Ari, Internal Medicine Specialist, Consultant Stomach and Digestive Diseases, Faculty of medicine-RSCM.

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