23+ Pros and Cons of Feeding Tubes (Explained)

A feeding tube is basically referred to as a treatment that actually helps a person who cannot swallow or engulf their own food. The doctors generally use these kinds of solutions to the patients in order to feed them. These are also recommended to the people who have some choking issues.

Benefits of feeding tubesDrawbacks of feeding tubes
The use of the feeding tube is a painless processIt is a costly treatment
It helps a person swallow the foodIt does not work well with the patients having diseases like dementia
Feeding tubes can be a good money and time saverThese do not work with those people who are dealing with the last stage of the disease
It is a fast and simple processThis will not increase the life span of a person
It helps the food follow the right pathIt can cause nausea or vomiting

Feeding tubes have been a topic of discussion since long as they come with both pros and cons. Many physicians out there tend to think that these treatments can act as a goods solution for those who are not able to take food on their own, whereas some others feel that these solutions might have certain cons that could even outreach the benefits.

Advantages of feeding tubes:

  • The use of the feeding tube is a painless process:

A feeding tube can be easily fitted in a person’s body in order to allow him to have food and nutrition in an artificial way. It can be attached through the nostrils of a person and or can also be placed down the throat.

Furthermore, it is also possible that these are placed directly through a tiny cut in the abdomen of a person so that the food goes directly into the stomach. The process of attaching a feeding tube to a person might sound a bit complex but it is certainly painless.

  • It helps a person swallow the food:

When a person is not able to swallow or engulf his or her own food, then these feeding tubes can be really helpful for that person as it helps them do the same with ease. A person tends to face such issues, mostly during their old age. Moreover, a feeding tube does not let the feeding problem increase more in a person.

Also, it can help a person who is been suffering from various illnesses like a brain injury, surgery or a stroke. In other words, the chewing and the swallowing problems in a person are potentially solved by using a feeding tube.

  • Feeding tubes can be a good money and time saver:

A doctor may recommend feeding tubes to his patients in order to discharge that person soon to a better and skilled nursing home. The recommendation of feeding tubes can save the hospital a considerable amount of money as well as can save the doctors some money.

Actually, it is helpful in making a doctor save a lot of time that he would otherwise take for explaining the reasons why a family would or would not want to use a feeding tube, and in answering numerous questions that often arise in a patient’s mind and also he would not have to wait for a patient to come to a final decision.

  • It is a fast and simple process:

A feeding tube can be recommended to a person because of its simplicity and its fastness. It is a very efficient process of feeding people and also it can be attached through a simple and fast process. It is a far better process than hand-feeding a person who is not able to take food on their own.

It goes without saying that every person tends to have their own individual problems and the problems are unique in their own way, and in that case, a feeding tube can be very helpful, especially for the elderly people out there.

  • It helps the food follow the right path:

The main purpose of using feeding tubes is that it helps the food reach the stomach of the patient, following an intended way of the path. A person who is unable to take his own food by himself usually needs to be fed by someone very carefully.

But, with hand feeding, there always a chance that the food gets ingested in the wrong path and might cause severe issues to the patients.

So, a feeding pipe basically prevents the food particles from reaching a person’s lungs or in any other undesired place.

Disadvantages of feeding tubes

  • It is a costly treatment:

It is probably one of the most disadvantageous aspects of feeding tubes that attaching them to the patients’ bodies can be a little costly.

It can cost between the range of 9000 to 10000 U.S dollars and that is, of course, pretty expensive to afford for many middle-class people out there. So, many patients would rather go for careful hand feeding for those who cannot feed on their own.

Moreover, the problem does not just end with the attachment of a feeding tube, and a person might also have to take other medication besides using a feeding pipe. So, the overall cost of the treatment of the individual might go higher than one’s budget.

  • It does not work well with the patients having diseases like dementia:

It is probably another big disadvantage of using feeding tubes. That is, it does not go well with the patients having some definite kinds of diseases, such as dementia.

The reason behind this is that a person having dementia, will not realize the purpose of the feeding tube that is attached to his body and may try to remove it by force and it is also possible that he or she might end up himself or herself in the entire process.

Thus the movements of such patients require to be restricted with the help of some sedating medication or by some physical force.

  • These do not work with those people who are dealing with the last stage of the disease:

Another limitation of a feeding tube is that it does not work with the people who are in their last stage of Alzheimer’s or other life taking diseases and may cause them more harm than good. They may end up becoming feebler and week and they might also tend to lose weight at a drastic rate.

Also, in the case of such patients, the food may be likely to even into their lungs causing them to develop pneumonia or other respiratory problems.

  • This will not increase the life span of a person:

Before opting for using feeding tubes, a person must keep it in mind that these would certainly not increase one’s life span and will cause him to gain weight or become strong anyway. They need to know that it is not a medication.

It is just a method of feeding a disabled or a maimed person by using an artificial method. So, expecting a better life span or a healthier body will be lame if one is using feeding tubes. 

  • It can cause nausea or vomiting:

If a person’s body is no longer responding and if he is no longer able to take his own food and water, then, artificial way of feeding that person with the help of feeding tubes can cause nausea or vomiting to the person.

Also, it will dehydrate the patient’s body and will cause swelling or other breathing issues. The use of feeding tubes will not improve the quality of life.

So, the above pros and cons can be helpful for a patient himself or the patient party to understand the various advantageous and disadvantageous aspects of feeding in order to make the decision whether one should go for this or not. 

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