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Question about feeding tubes

By October 7, 2011 - 7:15am
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I am considering having a feeding tube put in. How do I go about discussing this with my doctor. We have already discussed other methods that aren't right for me, except this one. How is it done? And Could I do it myself at home?

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Hi Sysy,

Enteral feeding, or tube feeding, is a way to deliver nutrients through a tube if you cannot take food or drink through your mouth. In some cases, you may only need tube feeding for a short period of time during your hospital stay. In other cases, you may need to go home with the tube in place and continue to receive nutrition this way.

Tube feeding provides you with proper nutrition when a condition makes it difficult, unsafe, or impossible to take food in through your mouth. Fluids and medicines can also be given through the tube.

Complications include:
Diarrhea or constipation
Abdominal cramping or bloating
Breakdown of the skin surrounding the feeding tube
Irritated or infected stoma (the opening made in the abdomen)
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
Higher than normal phosphate levels in the blood
Nausea and vomiting
Inhaling the liquid formula into the lungs (aspiration)
Clogged or dislodged feeding tube

Tube feeding is not something that can be done by yourself at home. It must be done by either your nurse if you can afford one, or a family member who is trained and willing to stay with you for every feeding.

Honestly, you can bring this up to your doctor-- however, unless things are looking grim for you, I don't know if he will agree with this. Instead of a tube feeding, what you may need is either to continue seeing your therapist along with nutritional therapy OR if things are really as bad you say they are, then he may consider hospitalizing you until you reach a healthier weight. If hospitalization is required, then he may start you on tube feeding. If you are eating close to nothing in a day, please contact your PCP.


Good Luck,


October 7, 2011 - 9:40am
(reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

The reason i asked is because they want to put me in the hospital because they think my condition is worsening. However, I cannot do that. I have college and an antibullying campaign, and work. Just wanted to see if that was an option.



October 7, 2011 - 9:52am
(reply to Sysy92)


While school, work, and your campaign are all important things, nothing is more important than your health. I hate to put it so bluntly but if you don't get the help you need now, you won't live to see another day of school or work. Then what? I really want to help you, as I'm sure everyone involved in your plan of care does--but there's only so much other people can do for you. You need to take a moment to think about who is really important...and that's you. You can return back to school when you're healthy and you can take a health-related leave of absence from work and return when you're better--the campaign can go on without you until you are healthy and able to give everything in your life 100%.

I know you care about your health and you want to get better, but YOU need to make the effort to get to a healthy weight and a better lifestyle.

Best Wishes,


October 7, 2011 - 10:05am
(reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

Hi Rosa,

thanks for your reply. I do not have a problem going to the hospital. What my problem is I do not need to go to a mental facility, which is where my doctor wants to send me. I HAD anorexia. I do not have it now, and i have explained that to my doctor. I eat meals through out the day and i love food. The feeding tube was a kind of a last resort. My doctor looks at me and says, "You have anorexia nervosa"..because of my weight. Mentally, I do not have it. I would love to be a healthy weight, I really would. For some reason, my body just will not gain weight anymore. If anything, it keeps losing. And I explain this to everyone and they brush it off as "Anorexia" talking. That is not the case. I eat everyday. The only person who believes me is my therapist, who see's my frustration with the medical field. Last time I saw my doctor, she asked to see my arms to see if I had been "cutting". I was extremely offended. I do not engage in self-injury, so I was extremely insulted. I was not even there for that. I was there because I had a fever.
The point is, I am getting desperate to gain weight, and I have done everything in my power--and i felt the feeding tube was the last resort. I do not need to go to an eating disorder facility or mental facility, because I do not have anorexia. I HAD it a couple years ago.
The only thing my doctor says to me whenever i go to see her is ," You need to be hospitalized."
I do not need to be hospitalized for something I do not have. I just need to gain weight, and with everything I've tried, nothing works. I am getting tired of the stares, and comments from people. I just want to gain weight.
I am reaching out for help from my doctors, but I will not be treated for something I do not have. I can't gain weight and I know it is hurting my body badly, but I am not purposely losing weight.

October 7, 2011 - 10:41am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Sysy92)

First of all, it is possible to tube feeding yourself. Thousands of people do this at home every day.

Second, if your goal is to gain weight, some of the formulas you would put through the tube can be taken much easier by mouth. There are powders (like MegaGains mix) you can add to regular food, or nutritional supplement drinks to make them higher calorie (and thus help you gain weight). It is best to talk to your doctor or a dietitian first.

Good luck!

October 11, 2011 - 8:38am
(reply to Anonymous)

thanks anon!

I had already tried that for a couple years. I found out I am having problems with my thyroids and have a tumor on my pituitary gland which is affecting my ability to maintain a good weight. Found out last friday. This gave me some relief to know that they will be able to help me with this problem.
I appreciate your response!

October 11, 2011 - 12:35pm
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