(HealthDay)—Chewing gum relieves discomfort associated with ingestion of the polyethylene glycol solution for colonoscopy preparation, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Jisun Lee, R.N., from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues randomly assigned patients to a gum-chewing (66 participants) or control group (65 participants). All drank a polyethylene glycol solution. The gum-chewing group of patients chewed one stick of sugarless gum during the pause interval of drinking the solution.

The researchers found that the gum-chewing group reported significantly lower abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting, and took a shorter time to ingest the solution, compared to 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," the authors write.