Feeding Tube Awareness Week

5th-9th February 2024
Feeding Tube Awareness Week falls in early February each year. There are misconceptions surrounding why people might need a feeding tube, or even judgement. People with digestive diseases can need a feeding tube, we want to remove these stigmas at Guts UK Charity. Discover how you can help below.

What does a feeding tube do?

Tube feeding (also known as enteral nutrition) is simply a way of your body getting the nutrition it needs. A liquid form of food is carried into your body through a tube. The food is directed straight into a part of your digestive system (like your stomach, or small bowel) via a tube, rather than through the mouth.

Why are feeding tubes used?

For some, feeding tubes are life-saving but it can also be a way of ensuring people don’t become malnourished. Sometimes, feeding tubes give people a better quality of life, or halt very severe symptoms that are difficult to live with.

There are many conditions or reasons for needing a feeding tube, including achalasia, gastroparesis, cancer, an eating disorder, blockage in the bowel, severe diarrhoea or sickness and more.

Why is it important to raise awareness of feeding tubes?

There are often presumptions or misunderstandings surrounding feeding tubes. Not every illness is visible, and you don’t have to be a certain size, or look a certain way to need a feeding tube.

Rachael’s Feeding Tube Story – Gastroparesis

Rachael is holding a cake that she has taken into the hospital to thank them for their care. It reads 'Thank you so much, love from Rachael'. She and a nurse are both smiling, and Rachael has a nasal feeding tube and her backpack on.

People ask me how long I’ve had cancer, to which I explain that there are a huge number of medical conditions which require nutritional support, not just cancer. I will happily speak with people who are curious and inform them of my condition. But like many others with chronic illnesses, I can find myself growing tired or becoming uncomfortable during situations – especially when being stared at for a disturbing length of time!” – Continue Rachael’s story here.

Dominika’s Feeding Tube Story

Dominika is wearing a white top and light denim trousers and a yellow cardigan. She is stood outside, holding a pale brown giant teddy bear and she is smiling at the camera. She wears black rimmed glasses.

Feeding tubes save lives. Not only physically by nourishing our bodies, but also mentally as they provide relief from horrible symptoms. We are also just normal people! People with feeding tubes absolutely can (unless they have been directly told not to by a doctor) eat normal food and drink normal fluids too.” – Continue Dominika’s story here.

How can I help?

You can help us spread the word and chip away at the stigma surrounding feeding tubes by:

  • Following us on social media and sharing our awareness and information posts during the week itself. You never know who we might reach and help together. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter/X.
  • Share your own experience, or a loved ones experience with a feeding tube to your own circles, and on your own social media channels.
  • Fundraise for Guts UK Charity to help us abolish the taboos surrounding digestive health, and get to grips with guts. You can fund life-changing research, and empower people to seek help sooner.
  • Donate £3 per month to Guts UK Charity. For the price of a cuppa, you can change and save lives.

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