Chewing Xylitol Gum Can Promote Earlier Bowel Function After Cesarean Delivery

newborn in hospital
Researchers examined the effects of xylitol gum chewing on bowel functions after a patient’s cesarean delivery.

Chewing xylitol gum after cesarean delivery is an efficient method for promoting earlier bowel functions, according to study findings published in the Journal of Perianesthesia.

Researchers conducted a prospective, randomized controlled trial on patients after the second hour of cesarean delivery. The study population consisted of 69 women who were randomly assigned to the xylitol gum-chewing (n=23), nonxylitol gum-chewing (n=23), or control groups (n=23). Gum chewing commenced in the second hour following cesarean delivery, and participants were asked to chew for 15 minutes every 2 hours for between 8 and 12 hours. Data were compared between groups regarding bowel sounds, defecation, flatulence, sensation of hunger, and length of hospitalization.

Both first bowel sounds and first sensation of hunger were comparable between xylitol gum-chewing, nonxylitol gum-chewing, and control groups (P =.070 and P =.098, respectively). However, flatulence occurred earlier among the xylitol gum-chewing group compared with the control group (11.18±5.39 vs 17.35±6.27 h, respectively; P =.003); similarly, first defecation was earlier in the xylitol gum-chewing group compared with nonxylitol gum-chewing group (37.58±9.96 vs 44.05±9.4 h; P =.022). Compared with the control group (51.77±10.3 h), length of hospital stay was shorter among both the xylitol gum-chewing group (46.33±8.11 hours; P =.028) and the nonxylitol gum-chewing group (50.23±5.72 hours; P =.024).

The primary limitation to this study was the duration of data collection, which took longer than expected due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The study authors concluded that “chewing gum is an efficient and user-friendly method in nursing care after cesarean for starting bowel functions early. It is suggested that xylitol gum chewing should be included in nursing care after cesarean (by considering xylitol dose a day).”


Elkan Kiyat Z, Kahyaoglu Sut H. The effect of xylitol gum chewing after cesarean on bowel functions: a randomized controlled study. J Perianesth Nurs. Published online June 21, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jopan.2022.03.00