London: Chewing sugar-free gum after operations can help bowel cancer patients get their digestive systems back to normal and recover faster, scientists say.
"It seems that chewing gum can stimulate the saliva, which starts enzyme production in the pancreas, and that then stimulates gastro-intestinal activity."The trial, which began six months ago, has yet to publish results, but the surgeon said so far patients were responding well to it.Windsor said: "Patients seem to like it and in particular to like the fact they are doing something to aid the recovery.We don`t yet know how far it is speeding up their recovery, but there doesn`t seem to be a downside to it.""If I was a patient going into hospital for surgery, I would say talk to your medical team first, but from all the research done, it seems that chewing gum is something that can help patients and for most people, it is certainly unlikely to do any harm," the surgeon added.However, researchers said, it is not known whether chewing gum works as a placebo, improving patients` sense of well-being, and reducing stress -- which could in itself improve bowel function -- or whether the impact is physical.PTI
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