Does chewing gum after surgery improve bowel function? You’ll be surprised with the answer!
Bottom Line: Chewing gum in post abdominal surgery patients shortens time to first flatus (by 10 hours), time to first bowel motion (by ~1/2 day), and length of hospital stay (by~0.7 days). For every five patients treated, one fewer will develop ileus. Chewing gum in non-post-surgical constipation has not been studied.
- Use in colorectal, gynecological, and other abdominal surgeries:
- Systematic review of 81 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) comparing postoperative chewing gum to any intervention (9,072 patients)
- Chewing gum resulted in statistically significant decreases in:
- Time to first flatus (TFF): By 10 hours.
- Time to first bowel motion (TFBM): By 13 hours.
- Length of stay (LOS): By 0.7 days.
Information accessed directly from Tools for Practice, Alberta College of Family Physicians.
- Short V, Herbert G, Perry R, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015; 2:CD006506.
- van den Heijkant TC, Costes LMM, van der Lee DGC, et al. Br J Surg. 2015; 102:202-11.
- Atkinson C, Penfold CM, Ness AR, et al. Br J Surg. 2016; 103:962-70.
- Pereira Gomes Morais E, Riera R, Porfírio GJM, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016; 10:CD011562.
- Kehlet H. Lancet. 2008; 371:791-3.
- Spanjersberg WR, Reurings J, Keus F, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;2:CD007635.
- Charoenkwan K, Matovinovic E. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;12:CD004508.
- Paton F, Chambers D, Wilson P, et al. BMJ Open. 2014; 4:e005015.
- Nelson G, Kiyang LN, Crumley E, et al. World J Surg. 2016; 40:1092-1103