Living with a digestive condition during Ramadan

20th April 2023

Sofie, who has previously shared her experiences of living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) before, has shared her experience of what it’s like living with IBS during Ramadan.

“I love the month of Ramadan. It gives me such peace and joy. It’s a time for reflection and gratitude. Since my IBS, Ramadan is a lot harder.

I have to be more aware of what I’m eating, and obviously we cannot eat from sunrise to sunset. In the morning I have to think about what I’m going to eat. During the evening meals (which is called Iftar), I try and stay away from the fried foods which can aggravate my stomach. I have to be mindful about what I’m eating & drinking during Ramadan.

For me, a major factor is guilt. I love this month so much, but I have noticed in the last two years I’ve had to reduce the number fasts I’m doing. Advice for IBS is smaller, more regular meals, which can help with symptoms. I can’t handle eating one larger meal per day. I feel there are a lot of Muslims around the world who may feel guilty too. I tell myself that this is a religion of peace and all God Almighty wouldn’t want anyone to put themselves through harm, so that brings me some comfort. I pray, then read books and I remember God in other ways. I show myself kindness.

Within the community, some people understand and some don’t. Some have a misunderstanding of what IBS is and consider it ‘just a tummy ache, diarrhoea or constipation’. Comments like “Why are you making such a big deal about it? I know someone much worse and they’re still fasting.” People can’t see IBS and don’t see what you’re going through. I could go on and on about this because it’s really not spoken about. The joy of such a peaceful and beautiful month for some people can be taken away due to the lack of awareness and misconceptions.

Those more understanding, if they have Iftar dinners, may try and make an effort, like cooking something suitable for me to eat. But even if they say, “Look Sof, just bring something of your own that will help you”, I love that. You feel included.

Thank you so much Sof for sharing your experience. You can read Sofie’s full IBS story here.

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