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.
- 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.
How do you use and care for a feeding tube?