Enteral feeding refers to the intake of food via the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is composed of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Enteral feeding may mean nutrition taken through the mouth or through a tube that goes directly to the stomach or small intestine. In the medical setting, the term enteral feeding is most often used to mean tube feeding.

A person on enteral feeds usually has a condition or injury that prevents eating a regular diet by mouth, but their GI tract is still able to function.

Being fed through a tube allows them to receive nutrition and keep their GI tract working. Enteral feeding may make up their entire caloric intake or may be used as a supplement.

Enteral feeding is often used as a short-term solution while someone recovers from an illness, injury, or surgery. Most people receiving enteral feeds return to regular eating.

There are some situations where enteral feeding is used as a long-term solution, such as for people with movement disorders or children with physical disabilities. In some cases, enteral nutrition can be used to prolong life in someone who is critically ill or an older person who can’t maintain their nutritional needs. The ethics of using enteral feeding to prolong life have to be evaluated in each individual case. Enteral feeding can seem like a challenging adjustment for you or a loved one. Your doctor, nurses, a nutritionist, and home health care providers can help make this adjustment a successful one.

Listen To What My Patients Say

  • Dr. Nishita Rana

    Shilpa Joshi, RD is a highly knowledgeable Dietician. She has been guiding me from past two years for peg tube feeding. Very few Dieticians can give their best advice about peg feeding on opd basis. Her knowledge about nutrition, diet in relation to tube feeding patients is highly appreciable. Her recommendations would mainly focus on balanced diet, proper calorie counts and home preparations as much as possible. Thank you for keeping us on healthy track!

    Dr. Nishita Rana