A small study suggests that chewing gum after colon surgery may speed the return of normal bowel function and shorten patients’ hospital stays, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Any type of abdominal surgery can cause ileus, a marked decrease or stoppage of intestinal function, according to background information in the article. Pain, vomiting and abdominal distension are the immediate consequences. Ileus also can lead to longer hospital stays, an increased risk of infection and problems breathing, the authors report.
Rob Schuster, M.D., and colleagues at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, California, studied 34 patients who underwent sigmoid colon resection, in which surgeons remove a portion of the large intestine, for cancer or recurrent diverticular diseases. Seventeen of the patients chewed sugarless gum three times a day beginning the morning after their surgeries and lasting until their first bowel movement. The other 17 patients, who did not differ in age, gender, reason for surgery or number of previous surgeries, served as controls.
Janet O’Neill | EurekAlert!
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