Dozens of Qataris have been hospitalized after overeating during the first night of Ramadan. Though Ramadan is about self-discipline and control, and includes refraining from all food and liquids during the daylight hours, some are using it as a chance to over-indulge at the nightly iftars when Muslims break the fast.
Overeating to the point of nausea is shockingly prevalent, with hospitals expecting an average of fifteen patients to be admitted each night of the month-long fast.
The symptoms are horrific, as a medical staff member at Al Ahli Hospital told Arabian Business, "They generally start arriving at the emergency room around 8-8:30pm in severe gastric pain and with repeated vomiting." Treatment consists of intravenous injections of a cocktail of painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and emetics.
Other Ramadan-related ailments include gastroenteritis from improperly stored food, renal colic from dehydration and hot weather, and gastritis -- but overeating remains the most avoidable problem.
Yvonne Maffei, who runs the Muslim healthfood site My Halal Kitchen commented to The Huffington Post in an email:
"This unfortunate situation speaks to the need for people to recognize the importance of moderation in consumption when the fasting day is over. It should also help to raise awareness that hydrating foods and drinks should be an inherent part of Ramadan meals. An increase in fruits and water-packed vegetables such as melons, squash, coconut, and pineapples can all be consumed in a moderate yet effective way."
The Gulf region should be concerned about overeating not only during Ramadan, as a United Nations report this week found that populations in the area have been rated as among the world's fattest, with almost half of Kuwaiti adults falling into the "obese" classification.