Why a feeding tube? What’s it for?
Feeding tubes are used for many reasons. Sometimes, someone cannot eat by mouth, due to aversions or physical reasons. Sometimes that means they are unable to swallow, or aspirate (get fluid in the lungs) when they swallow.
Sometimes tubes are used when someone can’t eat enough. Rather than eat 8 oz in 15 minutes, for example, a feeding tube allows that 8 oz to be spread out over an hour, or two hours, or however long. Sometimes tubes can be used to run food all day long.
Sometimes food needs to bypass the stomach completely. This can be because the stomach is paralyzed, or other reasons. In that case, a g/j tube can be used. A j tube (or jejunostomy tube) is run directly into the small intestine. Nutrients run slowly for the person with the tube, which allows them to thrive while minimizing pain and discomfort.
Feeding tubes are used for a variety of reasons. Everyone is unique, but one thing stays in common: fed is best! Feeding tubes allow people to eat, grow, and thrive!