Doctor addresses unusual constipation solving trick and says it actually works

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A doctor explained how the trick helps to relieve constipation (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)
A doctor explained how the trick helps to relieve constipation (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)

Of all the weird and wonderful tips shared on TikTok, the latest gut health recommendation might be the most surprising yet helpful. A doctor has revealed chewing gum could help with constipation after a video recommending the advice went viral.

The video in question was seen by Dr Karan Raj, who regularly uses his account @dr.karanr to debunk medical myths for his five million plus followers. This time, however, he amplified the message shared by a fellow doctor on TikTok.

In the first viral video posted by @dr.zionko, Dr Zion explained her "gastroenterologist husband" handed her chewing gum soon after her C-section. 'Why?' you might ask. "To avoid constipation and ileus," her caption explained.

In a video response, Dr Raj went on to explain why exactly chewing gum can help with this. "If you're constipated after abdominal or pelvic surgery, chewing gum could help you in your quest to churn out fresh colon sausage," he said. "Sometimes after surgery your digestive system goes on strike. It powers down leaving you bloated and constipated. This is known as a paralytic ileus and can be painful.

"The reason why chewing gum can work to get your gut back on track is that the chewing gum tricks your body into thinking it's eating. It triggers the gastrocolic reflex so a bunch of gut hormones are released and the vague nerve is stimulated resulting in more intestinal contractions and more movement. Even better, use sugar-free gum."

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Responding to commenters keen to know if gum can help more generally, the expert clarified: "There are lots of causes of constipation so it's not a cure all." However, he did say it can help "to return to normal gut motility post op."

If you're struggling with constipation, the NHS website recommends "making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle", such as avoiding alcohol, drinking plenty of fluids, increasing the fibre in your diet, and adding some wheat bran, oats or linseed. Improving your toilet routine and increasing your activity can also help. If these changes are not helping, it is advised to speak to a pharmacist. Equally, it is best to take care when enjoying chewing gum as it can cause diarrhoea, and in some cases, regular chewing can damage your teeth.

Amber O'Connor

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