Individuals who chew lots of gum with sorbitol, a sugar substitute that is also a laxative, may suffer from diarrhoea so chronic that it could cause a severe loss of weight, German doctors warn.
Their next step was to examine electrolytes in the patients' stools,
and these showed extremely high levels of potassium and sodium.
But the doctors were flummoxed when blood tests, colonoscopies,
ultrasound and computed tomography scanners all showed the patients
were otherwise healthy.
The patients modified their chewing habits and within a year had
returned to normal intestinal health, the letter adds. The woman gained
seven kilos (15.4 pounds) and the man five kilos (11 pounds).