Life with a GI Disorder

Life with a GI Disorder

The GI
System

When your child has a GI disorder, also known as a gastrointestinal disorder, three simple words - Nourishing every day - can make a difference. Nourishing their body with the nutrition it requires can give them the energy they need to embrace each day to their fullest.

Some children have conditions where their GI system isn't functioning as it should, so they can't absorb all the nutrients that they need from food. There are many reasons children may have GI impairment. Some examples are:

  1. Reduced bowel length (for example, because of a surgery) 
  2. Bowel disease that impairs absorption
  3. A condition or illness that affects the body's ability to break down nutrients

The GI system is the name for all the parts of their body that are needed for breaking down, processing and absorbing food. When children can't get the nutrition and energy they need from food consumed orally, another method can be enteral nutrition, which is known as a tube-feeding nutrition product.

Types of GI Disorders

There are many kinds of GI disorders and they can vary greatly.

Here is a brief explanation of some of the categories. Be sure to discuss your condition with your doctor.

GASTROINTESTINAL (GI) MOTILITY DISORDERS refer to conditions where food does not move through the gastrointestinal system at a normal rate. One example of a GI motility disorder is gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach).

UPPER GI DISORDERS are those that affect the upper area in the digestive tract, from the esophagus to the stomach. Well-known examples of upper GI disorders include GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and gastroparesis. 

LOWER GI DISORDERS are those that affect the lower area of the digestive tract, from the small intestine/bowel to the large intestine/bowel to the rectum. Examples of lower GI disorders include IBD (inflammatory bowel disease encompassing Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), celiac disease, GI effects of cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis or pancreatitis, short bowel syndrome, chronic diarrhea and inflammation.

How the Body Uses Food

A healthy diet is more than just "food". It provides fuel (energy) as well as the building blocks for life, such as fat, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Maintaining good nutrition is important for everyone, but it is crucial to people with an acute or chronic illness, or to someone receiving certain medical treatments, recovering from surgery or has had unwanted weight loss.

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Understanding Enteral Feeding

Enteral Feeding is a new world to navigate. We're here to help you get prepared and comfortable.

Nestlé Health Science Peptamen Junior® formulas are designed to help families and caregivers navigate the wealth of tube-feeding information found on the Internet. As you continue to do all that you can to help your child, we understand that there will be questions and concerns along the way. That’s why we’ve pulled information and resources to support you; so you can embark on this journey as comfortably as possible.

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Transitioning Back home

The first day home with your child is both exciting and frightening.

The great news is that your child is doing well enough to come home. But the scary part is that you now need to take the reins from the healthcare professionals and learn how to tube feed your child. This probably feels like an overwhelming task, and rightfully so—but as with anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you will be. 

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Working with your Healthcare Team

You are not alone in this journey. Your entire healthcare team — which can include your child's primary care doctor, specialists, dietitians, therapists and a home care company — are all dedicated to helping you achieve the best outcomes possible for your child. 

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Tips, Tools & Resources

Maintaining Personal Health

Tips for keeping your mouth, nose or tube site healthy while tube feeding.

Let's "Break It Down"

Facts about protein and peptides.

Go for the Goals

Use this worksheet to help track your prescribed tube-feeding schedule.

Quick Links

Additional resources on tube feeding, caregiving and more.

Tube-Feeding Troubleshooting

Helpful Information for navigating problems such as clogs.

Recipes

A variety of taste options for those who consume Peptamen® formula orally.