Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies that compared early oral intake with delayed oral intake following open abdominal gynaecological surgery were eligible for inclusion. The interventions consisted of a clear fluid on the first post-operative day (or until 500 mL could be tolerated) followed by regular diet as tolerated. The control group received nil by mouth until return of bowel function, after which clear liquid was given followed by a regular diet as tolerated.
Participants included in the review
Studies of adults diagnosed as having a gynaecological disease or disorder were eligible for inclusion. Studies of Caesarean sections, out-patient gynaecological surgery, gynaecological laparoscopic surgery and vaginal gynaecological surgery were excluded. The participants in the included studies were undergoing surgery for gynaecological oncology (involving bowel procedures), and major abdominal gynaecological surgery without involving the gut or without injury to the gut. The average age ranged from 50 to 57 years.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that assessed length of post-operative hospital stay were eligible for inclusion. Studies assessing other outcomes (such as signs of post-operative ileus or time to bowel sound) without assessing post-operative hospital stay were excluded.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.