A gastrostomy tube or G-tube helps provide nutrition or medication to patients who can't swallow. It is inserted into the stomach through a minor incision. Another function of the G-tube is to allow the stomach to release air. If you are caring for a child with a G-tube who experiences gas pain, there are ways for you to relieve that discomfort. Your doctor or nurse will help you determine which method to use.
Preventing Gas Pain
To prevent gas pain, bloating and cramping, try to eliminate the air from the tube before it is connected. According to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority, you should vent the G-tube while it is elevated. The child should be lying down with his head raised while you hold the tube straight up and open it. Put the cap back on when the air has escaped and fluid begins to flow out.
Providing Relief for Gas Pain
If your child is experiencing gassiness, two different of methods of venting the tube can be used. You may need to attach a mucous trap or drainage bag to the G-tube port, according to experts at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Your doctor or nurse may want you to assess the amount of drainage that accumulates in the bag. Another method is to use a syringe with a catheter tip to remove air or fluid from the stomach to make the child more comfortable. Again, you might need to measure the fluid that drains out and note how often you are venting the tube.
Possible Causes of Diarrhea
If gas pain persists or diarrhea occurs, a variety of factors could be to blame, according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals. Consider that you might be trying to feed the child too much at one time. This problem can be prevented by not letting the feeding formula hang longer than six to eight hours. Feeding too quickly is another common problem, so slow things down. If infection is a concern, give more water after each feeding, because diarrhea causes the patient to lose water. If you suspect that bacteria is getting into the feedings or the tube itself, ask your doctor for help.
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