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Many people experience stomach pain at one point or another, however, during the holy month of Ramada, it is a common grievance among the faithful. These complaints tend to increase with changes in diet. In order to get rid of the problem of persistent stomach pain and ache, the source needs to be determined. Once the source is identified, certain drugs prescribed by doctors can relieve the pain, though some foods and herbal teas can help for a while.
With the issue of stomach ache and pain, it is important to watch out for specific symptoms and conditions such as bleeding, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, feeling like something is stuck in the throat, early satiety or anemia. If these conditions are present, one should consult a doctor immediately.
Light iftar, sahur
Changes in the number of meals and different mealtimes during Ramadan can cause stomach problems.
Stomach pain is one of the prominent complaints in this period. In sahur (the last predawn meal before the start of the daily fast) and iftar (a dinner to mark the end of the daily fast), one should be careful to consume foods that are light and do not tire the stomach but keep you full. It is also important to use the right cooking methods, consume food more slowly and pay attention to fluid intake.
However, despite all precautions, stomachache may not go away. It is very important to get expert help at that point.
Source of the pain
The pain and ache that is felt in the upper part of the abdomen, near the diaphragm, above the area also known as the breastbone – or sternum – is often called stomachache.
The pain usually starts at a single point and can spread to the back, to the right or left and sometimes to the chest area. It can be excruciating and can be long-term constant pain.
The source of the pain is determined according to its character, spread, whether it occurs when hungry or full, and accompanying conditions.
There are plenty of conditions that can lead to the symptom of stomachache and it can be accompanied by several other different symptoms.
- For those with a stomachache, nausea and sometimes vomiting can be experienced along with the pain.
- If the cause of the pain is reflux, complaints such as heartburn or reflux of food, difficulty in swallowing, coughing, hoarseness and tickling in the throat may also occur.
- Stomach ulcer pain usually increases in the state of hunger, usually at night.
- In diseases involving the pancreas, back pain and girdle pain are very prominent.
- There is usually severe pain in the upper right side after meals in cases related to gallstones.
- If stomach pain is accompanied by pain radiating to the left arm and neck combined with conditions such as breathing difficulties and sweating, a heart attack should definitely be kept in mind.
- Stomach pain sometimes also causes headaches.
- Due to the increased intra-abdominal pressure during pregnancy, reflux and stomach problems and stomach pain increase.
Taking it seriously
Although the pain in this area is often described by patients as stomach pain, other problems may also cause this pain.
Gallstones, pancreatitis, heart pain and muscle pain can cause stomach pain. To make this distinction, it may be necessary to perform an ultrasound, endoscopy and electrocardiogram (ECG), as well as blood tests.
If the pain persists for a long time, does not go away with simple home remedies, and there are conditions such as bleeding and weight loss, which are described as “alarming symptoms,” it is absolutely necessary to go to the hospital, warns Mustafa Kaplan, associate professor at Memorial Kayseri Hospital’s Department of Gastroenterology.
Methods for relief
Stomach pain can be experienced from time to time. First of all, several easy methods can be tried and applied at home to relieve the pain. If the complaints do not go away, one should seek medical help.
- If the patient has stomachache for the first time, if complaints are few, such as one or two times a week, they can temporarily use chewable tablets or syrups known as antacids – which have the active ingredient of sodium alginate and bicarbonate that suppresses reflux. Most of these syrups actually contain baking soda. For this reason, a mixture prepared by adding one spoon of baking soda to one glass of water at home can often be good for the stomach.
- Gastric protective drugs that suppress stomach acid – like those in the group of proton pump inhibitor drugs – can also be started to be taken once a day before sahur on an empty stomach, after consulting a doctor. If these drugs are to be taken, it is recommended to use them continuously for a month. The effect of these drugs usually begins in three to five days.
- During Ramadan, one should try to avoid acidic drinks and foods for reflux and stomach pain, reduce the use of tea, coffee, cigarettes and alcohol, raise the head of their bed, and not go to bed immediately after eating.
- Chewing gum is good for the stomach, but if the gum is sugary or sweetened, it can cause gas complaints. Chewing gum between iftar and sahur can provide some relief to the stomach.
- It is recommended to stay away from clothes that will tighten the abdomen; loosening the abdominal region can also help.
- High-fat meals should be avoided as they can increase the pain associated with gallstones.
- Sports and exercise are good, but heavy exercises can also cause intra-abdominal pressure and increase stomach complaints.