Certain illnesses and surgical procedures can make feeding difficult. Nutritional therapy provides the essential dietary nutrition required for a healthy status either orally, through a feeding tube (enteral) or through the blood stream (parenteral).
If your digestive tract is not functioning well or parts of it are removed through surgery, nourishment may be provided intravenously, directly into your blood stream.
A feeding tube is inserted into your stomach or intestine when certain illnesses reduce your appetite or make swallowing difficult. Tube feeding provides a liquid formulation of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and fats. The tubing may pass through the nose, down your throat and into the stomach (nasogastric tube), or through the skin of your abdomen into either the stomach (gastrostomy) or small intestine (jejunostomy). It can be used in children as well as adults, for a long term or short term, until you are able to eat normally, with the goal of improving your overall health, minimizing infection and ensuring comfort.
The amount of nutrition and route of administration depends on your condition and is supervised by your doctor with the help of nurses, dieticians and pharmacists.