Chewing gum for 30 minutes three times a day could help restore gut function to women after a C-section, a new meta-analysis finds.
A website touts 11 benefits of chewing gum, ranging from improving concentration to reducing heartburn. Now there is an emerging candidate for a twelfth benefit: helping C-section mothers recover from post-delivery complications.
Women give birth by cesarean section for a variety of reasons, but it causes traumatic shock to the intestinal area. In about 20% of C-sections the resulting inflammation leads to a post-operative condition known as ileus. It begins with a lack of normal bowel activity and leads to abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and bloating.
Post-operative ileus usually disappears after three or four days. But, as you can no doubt imagine, it can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when symptoms are prolonged.
There aren’t many remedies available to reduce the duration and severity of ileus. Mild exercise, short walks and eating something can help. However, the mother’s post-surgical status, along with abdominal pain, usually put exercise and eating at the bottom of her to-do list.
A simple approach has emerged that offers real promise in reducing the severity of ileus. Apparently, chewing gum sets in motion physiological signals and responses that can kick-start a few farts and restore regular bowel movements.
The saliva produced by chewing gum and the chewing motion itself combine to trick a shocked and sluggish intestinal tract into resuming normal digestion.
A recent meta-study compiled 17 independent studies of a total of 3,149 women who had experienced C-sections. Half of the mothers chewed gum on a routine schedule immediately after delivery while the others received standard treatment. Although the evidence analyzed was not the highest quality, the overall results show that gum chewing after a C-section can help move the bowels along.
What have you got to lose? Gum chewing is about as low risk an activity as can be imagined, no websites list the dangers of gum chewing, and none of the mothers in the studies complained about the horrors of being forced to chew gum.
More advanced moms could probably move up to bubblegum, and some may even be able to walk around their hospital rooms, carry their new baby and chew gum, all at the same time. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Let me know what you think. Thaïs
Read the full article at: www.livescience.com
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