Effects of gum chewing on abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and intake adherence to polyethylene glycol solution of patients in colonoscopy preparation

J Clin Nurs. 2016 Feb;25(3-4):518-25. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13086.


Aims and objective: This study aimed to reduce the common discomfort of colonoscopy patients when taking a bowel cleansing solution. Gum chewing, a form of sham feeding, was examined as a possible efficient intervention to reduce the discomfort from consuming polyethylene glycol.

Background: Sham feeding is a method that is similar to food intake, which stimulates the cephalic-vagal reflex, promotes secretion of gastrointestinal hormones, and stimulates movement of the gastrointestinal tract. Sham feeding with chewing gum has been shown to promote bowel motility.

Design: This was an experimental study utilising a randomised control group post-test design.

Methods: This study was conducted in Seoul, Korea from August-October 2012. Patients were randomly allocated into two groups; a gum-chewing group (n = 66) or a control group (n = 65). In the control group, patients drank a polyethylene glycol solution according to the general protocol. For the gum-chewing group, patients had to chew one stick of sugarless gum during the pause interval of drinking the polyethylene glycol solution. Results were analysed using the Mann-Whitney U-test, t-test, Chi-square test or Fisher's exact test.

Results: The gum-chewing group reported significantly lower abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting and took a shorter time to ingest the polyethylene glycol solution than the control group.

Conclusion: Gum chewing is efficient in improving abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and the intake adherence of patients in colonoscopy preparation.

Relevance to clinical practice: 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.

Keywords: colonoscopy; gum chewing; intake adherence; nausea; vomiting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chewing Gum*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Colonoscopy / methods
  • Colonoscopy / nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Nausea / prevention & control
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / adverse effects
  • Republic of Korea
  • Vomiting / chemically induced
  • Vomiting / prevention & control


  • Chewing Gum
  • Polyethylene Glycols