Can You Fast If You Have Acid Reflux?

By Devika Bandyopadhya

Many a times you might have come across a severe burning sensation around your chest area along with a mild chest pain, this is attributed to one of the common health issues faced by a majority of people.

Termed as symptoms associated with acid reflux, this is usually caused when a valve in the form of muscular rings, just at the entrance of your stomach, does not close immediately after the passage of food through it or if this valve-like structure opens too often, eventually leading to the acids produced by your stomach moving up into your food pipe.

When acid reflux happens too often, say more than twice a week, then you are suffering from a disease known as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

People suffering from acid reflux should monitor their health closely and always ensure a proper diet. As intake of proper food is essential to keep this illness at bay, you might ask what happens if you tend to fast on a particular day.

acid reflux

Do your acid reflux symptoms get worse? If so, you might want to know how to reduce heartburn while fasting.

Fasting and acid indigestion are something that go hand in hand. Although we tend to associate indigestion with our tendency to eat junk and certain other unsuitable food items, indigestion can also be a result of fasting. Acid indigestion can cause severe discomfort in your upper abdominal region.

Should we consider acid indigestion as an illness, well, not really. It is more of a symptom than an illness. Fasting and acid indigestion is also linked to the presence of other symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting and burping.

There are various forms of fasting practices. Some completely eliminate the intake of food and water, whereas a few prefer having fruits along with water.

Irrespective of which form of ritualistic fasting you practice, there could be stomach issues that you might end up facing, especially if you suffer from acid reflux symptoms.

Any person who is about to begin a routine fasting period would want to know how to reduce heartburn while fasting. Some of the tips in order to overcome a gas problem while fasting are:

• Avoid Cold Water:
Stick to warm or even hot water for that matter. It can settle your stomach in a soothing manner, helping you avoid a gas problem while fasting.

• Do Not Drink Water In Large Quantities:
Sip small amounts of it at a time. This is a kind of thumb rule to be followed when talking about fasting and acid indigestion.

• Prop Up Several Pillows Beneath Your Head When Sleeping:
This would prevent the acid from your stomach from being sent back up towards your throat.

• Prefer Having Just Plain Water:
Have only plain water rather than adding anything to it. Avoid lemon juice altogether, as this can worsen your gas problem while fasting.

How Does Your Body React When You Are Fasting?

As we associate fasting and acid indigestion, it is good to know how our body reacts when we fast and how it functions during the unavailability of food for a certain duration.

After there is no food remnant in the digestive system, our human body begins to draw reserves of glucose that are stored in our liver and also from the various muscle tissues in our body.

Glucose then turns into the fuel that supports the functionality of our body. The pancreas temporarily shuts the production of insulin. After the exhaustion of glucose stores, the fat stores are burnt up by the body, and ultimately the protein from the muscles are consumed.


Fasting to the extent where protein from the muscles begins to be used up can turn into a fatal incident. Therefore, it is essential to know the extent to which our body can sustain the fasting process.

It is essential to know how to reduce heartburn while fasting. Heartburn is one of the prime complaints that you would hear from people who are on a fast.

This is especially the case with people who are new to fasting. However, if you tend to fast on a regular basis, your body slowly gets used to it.

Ways By Which You Can Prevent Acid Reflux Issues While Fasting

A severe case of acid reflux can trigger several other health problems. A fasting period makes a person more vulnerable to the acid reflux disease.

It is not just an empty stomach but several other habits that can lead to problems linked to fasting and acid indigestion. Small meals are always advisable, especially when breaking a fast, it is suggested by esteemed nutritionists and dieticians that post fasting, you should stick to small frequent meals, rather than one large sumptuous meal.

People on a fast generally consume fruits. One of the fruits that should be avoided while fasting is pineapple. In general, citrus fruits have a high level of acid and can hence cause acid reflux symptoms, which can be worsened if you are on a fast.

It is suggested that when fasting, try to include fruits that have low acidic levels such as bananas and melons. Pineapples should strictly be avoided by people who are prone to stomach ulcers.


Generally for people with chronic acid reflux issues, doctors would advise having an early dinner and going out for a walk. Sleeping after dinner should only be at least two hours post the meal time and never immediately.

Also, it is recommended that people with gas problems should stick to eating healthy and avoid junk food altogether. Your meal should comprise of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoiding meat is usually a good idea when you tend to face acid reflux.

Persistent acid reflux symptoms require the intervention of a doctor, who might suggest proton-pump inhibitors. Several over-the-counter medications are available to cure the acid reflux symptoms; however, these only provide short-term cure and should not be used for a long period.

Fasting might be a ritual that you and your family have followed for several years; however, it is important that you take a good care of your health as well during the practice of this traditional fasting process.

Therefore, it is advised that you strictly follow the basic thumb rules when fasting, so that you can fast without worsening your health in any manner.

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    Read more about: fasting acid reflux meal digestion
    Story first published: Friday, March 2, 2018, 10:30 [IST]
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