Gum-chewing patients recovered faster after laparoscopic colon surgery

Gum chewing patients recovered faster after laparoscopic colon surgery 300x210 Gum chewing patients recovered faster after laparoscopic colon surgerySurprising news — a recreational activity has therapeutic value. Research shows that after abdominal surgery, chewing gum for one hour, three times a day, significantly hastens the resumption of normal bowel function and reduces the time patients spend in the hospital. Eating and drinking are also effective but can cause nausea.

“Chewing gum doesn’t put as much in your system if you’re not ready for it, yet it might help stimulate intestinal activity,” says Jeffrey Drebin, M.D., professor and chief of gastrointestinal surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. “I encourage my patients to chew gum as soon as they’re awake enough not to choke on it.”

A 2002 Japanese study showed that gum-chewing patients recovered faster after laparoscopic colon surgery. In 2006 researchers at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California found that gum chewers who had undergone conventional large-incision surgery moved their bowels 26 hours earlier than other patients. So with your surgeon’s approval, pack some gum, preferably sugarless, before heading to the hospital.

Studies suggest that chewing gum also relieves heartburn, which results when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. In a 2005 British study, 31 people with the condition consumed a fatty, hearthurninducing lunch on two days, and were randomly selected to chew gum for 30 minutes afterward. Acid levels were significantly lower when they chewed gum. An earlier study found that chewing gum for one hour after breakfast reduced symptoms for up to three hours.

Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which neutralizes acid in the esophagus. “It has the same effect as an antacid,” explains C. Mel Wilcox, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Alabana. The treatment may especially appeal to pregnant women who want to avoid medications.

Chewing gum may also dull the appetite. In a 2007 study sponsored by the Wrigley Company, 60 people were offered a sweet and salty afternoon snack after chewing gum or not chewing gum. They reported less hunger and consumed fewer snack calories after chewing gum.

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