Before laying great stress on the feeding tubes pros and cons, let us first expand your knowledge about feeding tubes.
Scientific breakthroughs have massively aided in improving the way of our living. Through scientific research and technological advancements, it has been made possible to extend life artificially by employing feeding tubes in chronically ill patients.
What Will I Learn?
- 1 What is a Feeding Tube?
- 2 13 Most Notable Feeding Tubes Pros And Cons
- 3 List Of Pros Of Feeding Tubes:
- 3.1 1. It is used to optimize nutrition
- 3.2 2. An easier way to provide fluids and medications
- 3.3 3. Easy to prepare food
- 3.4 4. It ensures better growth and development
- 3.5 5. Lets the gas out of your stomach when bloated
- 3.6 6. Requires fewer hospitalizations and emergency visits
- 3.7 7. It supports the immune system
- 4 List Of Cons Of Feeding Tubes:
- 5 FAQ – Frequently Asked Question about Feeding Tubes Pros and Cons
- 6 Conclusion:
What is a Feeding Tube?
A medical device that is used to feed an individual having difficulty in eating or swallowing is known as a feeding tube. Depending on the magnitude of your chronic illness, a feeding tube may be temporarily or permanently to ensure optimal nutrition.
The tube may either run through your nose down the throat or it may take a direct route through your stomach via an abdominal incision. Whatever the route is, the goal is to let the “tubies” get adequate nutrition (food) and hydration (water) that their body sorely needs.
When Feeding Tube is Recommended?
Your doctor may recommend tube feeding when you’re living through any medical condition such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, motor neuron disease, cystic fibrosis, etc. which hampers your ability to chew or swallow food. Also, when on chemotherapy (in case of cancer), you may need a feeding tube to get the desired nutrients. Mind it, feeding tubes don’t help much in cases of terminal health disorders.
Patients and caregivers need to be well-informed of the feeding tubes’ pros and cons before initiating tube placement. This article primarily aims to attenuate your worry by putting forth feeding tubes pros and cons.
Just be with us if you want to know the benefits and risks of tube feeding.
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13 Most Notable Feeding Tubes Pros And Cons
It is said that tube feeding is such a change that is both life-saving and life-altering. There is, perhaps, no one who wishes to starve his/her ill ones to death by not taking the right decisions. Weigh the following feeding tubes pros and cons if you’re grappling with feeding tube decisions.
Here, for you, we’ve made a list of feeding tubes pros and cons that you need to take on board when opting for any artificial feeding treatment.
Let’s get started with the pros of feeding tubes.
List Of Pros Of Feeding Tubes:
First, we’ll draw your attention to some of the merits of tube feeding which will help you gain a better understanding of what these devices are exactly meant for.
1. It is used to optimize nutrition
Feeding tubes are placed to deliver food in liquid form with the intent to give your body the nutritional support. The tube feed contains all the essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, lipids, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and water that your body requires for proper functioning.
Hence, tube feeding is a great way of a*suaging nutritional deficiencies and reducing your chances of choking.
2. An easier way to provide fluids and medications
To keep the body hydrated, feeding tubes prove to be beneficial. This way, you may not need to supply IV fluids to the patient. Not only fluids but also medicines can be easily administered. Pills and tablets need to be crushed and blended with an appropriate amount of water so they can easily pa*s. So, feeding tubes are a safer means of fluid intake.
3. Easy to prepare food
There are several ways to feed patients with these flexible tubes. Whatever the way, what holds significance is that you provide nutritious food that can be made by mixing the contents up using a blender.
4. It ensures better growth and development
For people with feeding difficulties, proper caloric intake helps in meeting growth requirements, increasing energy levels, improving strength and vigor, and decreasing irritability. Not able to get enough calories makes you lose weight when suffering from any critical disease such as cystic fibrosis.
Don’t worry! Tube feeds help you put the weight back on and over time you can see a newer version of yourself.
5. Lets the gas out of your stomach when bloated
If you’re unable to process enough food or fluids, the food may begin to sit up in your stomach which can cause distress, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and bloating. Excessive gas in the stomach may be partly responsible for food intolerance.
Feeding tubes can let the gas out when your stomach is distended or bloated. In the case of gastric tubes, one may say it artificial burping. These devices contribute heavily to provide short or long-term nutritional support.
6. Requires fewer hospitalizations and emergency visits
Caregivers or families after getting proper training and education on feeding tubes can start with home tube feeding only with the consent of the health professional. This will bring the patient to normalcy and will also provide him/her with a comfortable environment.
Getting appropriate tube feed at home minimizes hospital visits and also serves to get the patient back to life gradually.
7. It supports the immune system
Malnourished individuals have compromised immune systems which increases their vulnerability to infections. Therefore, adequate nutrient intake is to be ensured by tube feeding if you wish to fight your illness off.
In addition to weight gain and improved growth, supplemental feeding aids in better immune functioning as well as providing resistance to infection.
If you’re in an agonizing dilemma of making decisions through hard choices for your loved one who has trouble eating, we’re here to help you by apprising you of feeding tubes pros and cons.
Now let’s see the concerns or potentials risks a*sociated with feeding tubes.
List Of Cons Of Feeding Tubes:
Although tube feeding can widely ameliorate nutritional status, one must give a thought to some of its grave complications before getting started with the whole new way of feeding.
1. It may pose a risk for infection
Living with a feeding tube is challenging. Your stoma or the surrounding area may become infected. You can observe skin redness, swelling around the feeding tube, intense rash, and pain. Also, it may excessively bleed or an abscess may form.
If you acquire infection whilst you’re being tube fed, you need to immediately see your medical professional. He/she may prescribe certain antibiotics or other therapeutic agents to help fight the infection off that stands in the way of your feeding.
2. It can cause discomfort
When you can’t get the food into your body the same way as everyone else, you begin to feel powerless. You may consider yourself as the odd one out. Off and on, you may not only find it hard to get along with this feeding tube but also you wish to get yourself rid of this attached device. Out of distress, you may even attempt to pull out the tube which will cause you more harm than good.
Hence, to some people, the idea of a feeding tube inflames frustration, discomfort, and pain as they believe it offers a new set of procedures as well as responsibilities.
3. The tube may get clogged or dislodged
Blocked tubes put the patient’s life in jeopardy. Tubes which due to any reason clog or fall out hamper the patients from receiving the food and their medications. This will eventually cause dehydration and other complications that may arise from omitting medicines. If the tube is dislodged, the liquid nutrition or the formula can potentially make its way into the lungs causing aspiration pneumonia or swelling (edema) in the body.
Also, by any chance, the tube if it gets irreversibly blocked, the patient will need to again undergo an invasive procedure to get it through the stomach. Additionally, replacing such a tube is costly.
4. The tube feeding formula may overflow
Sometimes, the formula or the gastric contents may leak around the insertion site. This is a significant management problem. Content overflow might be due to any site infection or increased gastric acid secretion.
If the patient gets overfed, the feeding tube may become troublesome. Excess food will sit up giving the tubies pressure sores which can make them susceptible to various infections that can be life-threatening if overlooked.
5. Doesn’t provide the pleasures of taste
It is beyond the shadow of any doubt that tube-fed individuals cannot enjoy food as a healthy individual as they fail to push the food down safely via an oral route. They greatly miss the savor of food. This way they miss the sense of normalcy and feel left out.
It is undeniably a life-changing experience. People who have feeding tubes anchored in are challenged doubly. On one side, they wrestle with their medical condition and on the other side, they have to cope with the stigmatizing attitudes about their feeding method.
“Tubies” have to adapt themselves to a new ‘normal.’ Moreover, they have to adjust their sleeping patterns and postures to let the tube in place. Opting for artificial feeding may alter your personal and social life and your routine activities but you have to deal with it.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Question about Feeding Tubes Pros and Cons
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We’d like to give you the extract of the entire article on feeding tubes pros and cons within a few words.
Families attending to a chronically ill patient may have to make hard decisions concerning the medical treatment for their loved ones. While tube feeding is safe and well-tolerated, it is not something without its concerns and complications.
You are not alone in this feeding journey. Many others are going through the same condition. Feeding tubes are not something to be scared of. They can help in survival and may provide a life better than death.
You can save a life by deciding in favor of a feeding tube or you can hand over the patient to death by deciding against it. No doubt it’s a hard choice but after being cognizant of the aforementioned feeding tubes pros and cons, we hope you can reach a decision.