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But a cautious Dr. Theodore Saclarides, head of colon and rectal surgery at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, said more study is needed. Chewing gum could cause patients to swallow air, which could add to their tummy troubles. A better choice, he said, is promptly eating some food: clear liquids the day after surgery and solid foods the next day.
Saclarides, who was not involved in the new study, also recommended limiting the use of painkillers like morphine that cause constipation.
A new drug, Adolor Corp.'s drug Entereg, is now approved to treat constipation following abdominal surgery. The Food and Drug Administration has restricted its use to hospitals after one study found more heart attacks in people taking the drug.
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