The aim of this study was to determine the role of chewing gum in bowel functions after left colon and/or rectal surgery. In this randomized controlled study, the sample consisted of adult patients who had undergone elective open left colon and/or rectal surgical interventions under general anesthesia. The sample comprised 17 patients in the experimental group and control group. The patients in the experimental group chewed a sugar-free gum after removal of their nasogastric tubes, 3 times a day for 45 minutes, from the first postoperative morning until they had first flatus. Routine care was maintained for the patients in the control group until their first flatus. The effects of chewing gum on the length of time until first flatus, the first defecation in the postoperative period, and the discharge of patients were investigated. The patients in the experimental group had flatus and defecation earlier, and the duration of their hospital stay was shorter than those of patients in the control group. It was found that gum chewing as a physiological method promotes the early initiation of bowel functions and, consequently, shortens the hospital stay after elective left colon and/or rectal surgery.