So what is a feeding tube?
Webster’s dictionary defines a feeding tube as:
: a flexible tube passed into the stomach for introducing fluids and liquid food into the stomach
A feeding tube offers an alternative solution to eating and receiving nutrients. The above definition refers to gastric feeding tubes:
- Nasogastric (NG) is a thin tube that runs from the nose to the stomach
- Orogastric (OG) runs from the mouth to the stomach
- Gastric (G) inserts directly into the stomach through a surgically created hole in the stomach (stoma)
Feeding tubes can also be used to bypass the stomach, feeding straight into the intestines.
- Nasojejunal (NJ) is a thin tube that runs through the nose to the jejunal, part of the intestines
- Gastrojejunal (GJ) uses the same stoma in the stomach as a g tube, with a thin tube that runs to the jejunal
- Jejunal (J) inserts directly into the intestines through a surgically created stoma
Each type of tube serves a purpose. An NG, for example, can often be used as a short term solution for someone who needs help eating or intaking calories or fluids. It doesn’t require surgical intervention. A GJ or J tube is often used when there is difficulty with the stomach emptying or refluxing, feeding directly into the intestines and bypassing the stomach completely. A G tube can be used for both feeding and venting. Venting is a process of removing air or pressure from the stomach.
Everyone with a feeding tube has a different story and different needs. Three of our kidlets have had feeding tubes. We’ve experienced OG, NG, and G tubes. And all for different reasons!
Feeding tubes are lifesaving medical devices. Having one does not automatically mean that a person cannot eat by mouth either. Some can, but cannot take in enough calories to grow and be healthy. Some can take in solid food, but cannot safely drink fluids. Some can’t take anything by mouth. It’s all different!
Raising awareness is key here at Kidlets and Coffee. We are determined to not only share our personal experiences, but to raise awareness for a variety of medical conditions and devices.
LU has been g tube dependent for almost 5 years now. It literally saved her life, and we are forever grateful for the advances in medicine that allow her to continue to thrive!