Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery


It has been recently found that chewing gum is useful, and helps in recovery of intestinal function after surgical removal of colon.  The British researchers analyzed data from five clinical trials involving 158 patients.

The lack of ability of the intestines to pass contents after surgery is usual among patients. As a result post-surgery nausea, vomiting, cramps, and the pain or discomfort with abdominal flatulence is commonly suffered.

Researchers conducted five trials on a group of patients who were given to chew sugarless gum for five to 45 minutes, three times a day, after their surgeries and compared with the group of patients who did not chew gum. It was found that patients who chewed gum were relieved to pass gas and to have a bowel movement than those who did not chew gum. It is also that the patients who chewed gum had to stay for less time in the hospital.

It is assumed that chewing acts as a sham feeding that incites the nerves of the digestive system to release gastrointestinal hormones and increases production of saliva and secretions from the pancreas gland.  The increased production of saliva and pancreatic juices are indispensable for the digestion of the content of food in intestine. It has been concluded that gum chewing after abdominal surgery has vital impact in reducing the time for the resolution of ileus.

The potential benefits to individual patients by chewing gum is really amazing  in economic terms by staying less in the hospital and secondly, reliving the digestion process after surgery. The research was published in the August issue of the Archives of Surgery.

But it is still to answer the question of whether gum chewing can significantly reduce the length of stay and pain relieving after abdominal surgery or whether it just represents a placebo effect.