When medication and diet have failed, or if a patient is becoming too malnourished, the next step is often a feeding tube. Many people get very anxious when feeding tubes are mentioned which is very understandable but in most cases, they can really improve the quality of life and help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Fear no more and have a look below at some common feeding tubes and formula feeds. Please let us know if you have any specific questions related to feeding tubes, we are always happy to help if we can!
Naso-Gastric Tubes (NG):
NG tubes are passed in through the nose and down into the stomach. They can be used for feeding or to drain fluid from the stomach. They are rarely used for feeding in gastroparesis as the stomach is the problem area.
Suctioning NG tubes are wider but can provide relief from vomiting as a short term treatment as they allow you to drain fluid from the stomach. NG tubes can be placed at the bedside with a follow-up x-ray to confirm position.
Naso Jejunal Tubes (NJ):
NJ tubes are passed down through the nose, through the stomach and into the small bowel. They are placed via endoscopy with x-ray guidance. Sedation is usually offered for this procedure but it can be done as an outpatient.
When turning to support groups and searching the internet it is easy to get confused! Please try to remember that everyone is an individual and it's up to you and your doctor to decide what tube is best for you.
Jejunal feeding is the most commonly used treatment for malnourishment in gastroparesis. Usually, NJ feeding is used to determine tolerance to feeding prior to having surgical tubes.
Remember, there is no set rule on what type of tube you will get so some people have nasal tubes long term too.