Skip to content

Palliative Care Center

Step 1 of 6
Action Set
Tube Feeding: Living With a Feeding Tube

Your body needs nutrition to stay strong and help you live a healthy life. If you're unable to eat, or if you have an illness that makes it hard to swallow food, you may need a feeding tube. The tube is surgically inserted into your stomach and is used to give food, liquids, and medicines.

Depending on why you need a feeding tube, you may have it for several weeks or months or for the rest of your life. Having a feeding tube means learning new skills and adopting new routines. You'll need to learn how to use and care for the tube, and how to avoid common problems.

Key Points

  • A feeding tube is inserted during a surgery called percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). After the surgery, you'll have a 6- to 12-inch tube coming out of your belly.
  • Foods, liquids, and medicines are given using the tube. The food is a mixture (formula) made up of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Keeping the tube clean is very important.
  • Adjusting to using a feeding tube takes time. The first step is learning all you can about how the tube works and how to avoid problems. Making tube feeding less of a mystery may help you make it a part of your daily life.

what.gif What is tube feeding?
why.gif Why is it important to know how tube feeding works?
how.gif How do you use and care for a feeding tube?
where.gif Where to go from here

Return to topic:

Up Next in This Action Set:
ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last RevisedJanuary 10, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 10, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Nurse with patient
Article
Grieving father and daughter
Article
 
Computer search
Article
Nurse with patient
Article
 
Nurse with patient
Article
Doctor with patient
Article
 
Nurse talking to older man
Article
A caring hand
Article
 
In hospital with child
Article
Child with grandmother
Article
 
Man comfortable in nursing home
Article
Concerned doctor
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections