Chewing Gum could Relieve Discomfort during Colonoscopy Preparation

Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your comfort during your colonoscopy prep! A new study published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing contains evidence that chewing gum could relieve abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting when preparing for a colonoscopy.

Jisun Lee, R.N., from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues recently conducted a study involving 131 participants undergoing colonoscopy preparation. The researchers randomly assigned 66 participants into the gum-chewing group and the remaining 65 participants into the control group. All participants drank a polyethylene glycol solution, a laxative solution used to cleanse the colon prior to a colonoscopy exam. The gum-chewing group was given one stick of sugarless gum to chew during the pause interval of drinking the solution.

The results of the study showed that the group who chewed gum experienced less abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting and overall took less time to drink the polyethylene glycol solution, compared to the participants in the control group.

"Gum chewing was demonstrated by this study to be a potentially effective nursing intervention that is easy for patients to perform with simple instructions and is low cost with no side effects," said the authors of the study (Source: Medical Xpress).

The colonoscopy has developed a bad reputation over the years due to the undesirable preparation process, but new developments have made preparation for this exam much more palatable and easier to tolerate. Updated guidelines in the Standards of Practice Committee of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) now allow patients to split their prep solution into two doses. This method allows patients to drink half of the prep solution the night before their procedure and the other half the morning before their exam. This method has been shown to be more effective in cleansing the colon and is better tolerated by patients.

New guidelines also allow patients to follow a low residue diet rather than the traditional clear liquid diet leading up to bowel preparation. This permits patients to eat a variety of foods including rice, fruits and vegetables without peels or seeds, tender meats, yogurt, and refined breads and crackers. Outcomes on the low residue diet have been just as effective as the clear liquid diet, and patients are generally much happier with the preparation process (Source: StopColonCancerNow.com).

Fewer diet restrictions, split-dosing prep solutions and simple tricks like chewing gum to relieve discomfort are helping to make the bowel preparation process easier than ever. Ask your doctor or gastroenterologist for more tips on how to make your colonoscopy prep a breeze!