AIM This study aimed to determine the effect of gum chewing on the reduction of postoperative ileus and recovery after surgery. METHODS This study was conducted a randomized controlled trial in 60 patients who underwent colorectal surgery between November 2011 and December 2012. Patients in the experimental group chewed gum three times a day. The time of flatus and defecation, the time to start feeding, pain levels and time of discharge were monitored. RESULTS Post-surgery results for gum-chewing were first flatus and defecation times and the time to start feeding was shorter; pain levels were lower on the 3rd - 5th days; patients were discharged in a shorter time post-surgery. CONCLUSIONS Chewing gum is a simple intervention for reducing postoperative ileus after colorectal surgery. Further studies that examine the effectiveness of gum chewing on other surgical interventions in which the development risk of postoperative ileus should be performed.