A surgical procedure called a colonectomy removes part or all of the large intestine. A common side effect of this surgery is known as postoperative ileus (POI) in which bowel movement is impaired following surgery and can take 48 to 72 hours to recover.
Common symptoms experienced by patients with POI include bloating, pain, nausea and vomiting, an inability to pass stools, and an inability to eat solid food. There is also a greater risk for other complications that can prolong the time they must stay in the hospital. This, of course, results in higher health care costs.
A recently published study of 66 patients was designed to determine the usefulness of gum chewing to shortening the time to recovery from POI.