Q. Will prolonged fasting cause serious damage to stomach lining?

Answered by
Dr. Ajeet Kumar Lohana
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 30, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am 21 years old. Because before I was fasting for a long time (two or three years) like having breakfast and lunch afterward nothing else until the next day, because I was so depressed about my overweight condition and I did not have someone close to me to explain how to make a diet. Currently, I am under nutritionist care. My question is, how can I know that I did not cause myself any damage to my stomach which somehow could put me at risk of having gastritis, ulcer, stomach lining damage or even stomach cancer?



Welcome to

Well, to answer your question, there are some lab tests which could give us an idea of the damage it has caused to your overall health but not necessarily to your stomach. Few more clinical parameters to detect the effects of prolonged fasting habits are weight and muscle mass. If you have significantly lost weight and have lost muscle mass and become lean, or skinny, which is a direct result of chronic dieting. But thankfully, it is not that permanent, because once you starting taking sufficient calories in a day, your weight and muscle mass would come to its original values within six months.

You can test serum albumin, serum creatinine, serum CPK levels to give us clue your current body state of health in respect to nutrition. If you do not have symptoms related to gastric ulcer or what you more concern about gastric cancer, then it is unlikely that you have either of those.

The symptoms due to above condition are stomach pain, heartburn, acidity, vomiting, bleeding from mouth, and significant weight loss which would be rather unintentional than your case which is supposed to be intentional.

You can get the testing done, and share with me the report once available. You can upload if you already have blood testing done. I would review those and would be in a better position to tell you about your health. Also, let me know why you think that you might have stomach cancer?

The Probable causes:

Intentional weight loss. Anorexia nervosa.

Investigations to be done:

Serum albumin, creatinine, and CPK (creatinine phosphokinase) levels.

Regarding follow up:

Follow up as advised.

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