Learn how Mayo Clinic specialists help you maintain your feeding tube at home.
Enteral nutrition, also known as tube feeding, is a way of delivering nutrition directly to your stomach or small intestine. Your doctor might recommend tube feeding if you can't eat enough to get the nutrients you need.
When tube feeding occurs outside the hospital, doctors refer to it as home enteral nutrition (HEN). A HEN care team can teach you how to feed yourself through a tube and provide support when you encounter problems.
HEN might be recommended if you have difficulty eating, but your digestive system works normally. Examples include:
You may have home enteral nutrition, or tube feeding, if you can’t eat enough to get the nutrients you need. A doctor may recommend it if you have head or neck cancer, if cancer treatment makes it hard or painful to swallow, or if you have a brain and spinal cord problem such as stroke or ALS. Digestive tract issues and damage are other reasons for home enteral nutrition.
Feeding tubes deliver liquid nutrition directly to your stomach or small intestine. Options may include:
Which tube is best for you will depend on your situation. Discuss your options with your health care provider.