Smacking or popping gum is one of those disgustingly annoying habits that can drive a person crazy. For me, it’s right up there with cracking your knuckles, chewing on a pen cap or biting your finger nails. But here’s the rub… Some studies have shown that irritating little annoying habit might get people out of the hospital sooner after colon surgery.
Typically after part of the colon is removed during surgery, patients are required to stay at the hospital for at least a week to make sure that the bowel starts working properly so patients can eat normally again. Some studies have hinted at a connection between chewing gum speeding up this recovery time. Researchers found that chewing gum helps prepare the stomach to receive food again.
However, there is conflicting data. A recent study, consisting of 157 patients who had either open or less-invasive colon surgery, were randomly assigned to chew gum four times a day after surgery or not to chew gum. The researchers looked to see how quickly the patients regained bowel function, measuring when they started producing gas. The patients who didn’t chew gum said it took an average of 51 hours for their intestines to start functioning again, compared to the 43 hours it took the other patients who chewed gum to regain functionality.
With a margin that small, the researchers didn’t have enough evidence to say implicitly that gum chewing helped (Source: Reuters). But, even though this habit drives me crazy, it might be worth it to just pop a piece!
So chew on you gum smackers and poppers! We’ll try not to let it bug us.