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Will I still lose weight while on a g-tube?

jackrabbit
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2009

Due to my inability to eat or drink anything, I've been living on IV fluids and am getting a g-tube inserted tomorrow. In the past two weeks alone I've lost 10 lbs. I'm worried about losing weight even with the g-tube... I've heard of people on liquid diets and/or Ensure continuing to lose weight. Too much more weight loss will be dangerous for me... if I lose even 10 more pounds I'll be at 95 lbs. Have any of you had g-tubes and managed to maintain weight? Is it just a matter of having enough calories, or does it have to do with the nutrition/fat/protein in the food as well? Of course I have an appointment with a dietitian but I wanted some insight from those who have been there, done that.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

It is very much possible to continue losing weight while using the tube solely for nutrional intake. I am not a nutritionist or dietician but I would suggest that insufficient intake is the likeliest of culprits, caused by an improperly calibrated diet or an inability or unwillingness to adhere to the recommended feeding schedule.

Obviously, other health issues can contribute to the problem or even be the sole reason, but I would look to the above first.

In my case, following surgery, I was first put on a daily regimen of 6-8 cans of Jevity 1.2, daily. When I continued to lose weight (I ultimately lost 75 pounds before beginning to 'correct', but some of those pounds I needed to lose), the nutritionist upped the ante to Jevity 1.5, along with a once-daily additional protein supplement called Pro-Source.

Hydration is all fundamental to overall success. Be sure to find at immediately exactly how much water you need to be pouring into the tube on a daily basis. Hydration is CRITICAL.

I consider it very important that you keep that date with the dietician, who can be a source of great knowledge, who can do you a world of good in the weeks and months and even years to come, if that becomes necessary.

I would ask the dietician about exercise as well, so that any weight you do gain (and let's hope that you do), is healthy weight, although I am sure you are not worrying about that at this moment.

Best wishes.

Take care,

Joe

jackrabbit
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I definitely will be asking about exercise; as a former athlete I'm very interested in staying in as good of shape as possible.

It seems like my metabolism has probably slowed down a lot to compensate; it's the only good reason I can think of why my weight has remained stable in the last week even with the significant lack of food while I waited for my g-tube to be put in.

I'll just have to wait and see what my weight does and keep in close contact with my dietician.

I am a little distressed at hearing how much weight people have lost - between 35-75 lbs for most people on these discussion boards. Of course I realize some people were already overweight to begin with, etc. But with the twenty lbs I've already lost (and I was very fit to begin with, no extra lbs) I'm only ten pounds away from being severely underweight and I desperately hope I don't continue to lose. But you're right, I need to be diligent about sticking to my meal plan.

Anyway, thanks again for the encouragement and tips. All the best to you.

pattynonews's picture
pattynonews
Posts: 176
Joined: Aug 2009

Jack has only lost a total of 15 pounds through the whole year with cancer that is because I give him all the extra stuff and I give him the weight gain powder and the supplement of food, just becareful what food they give you some of it digest very slow It was jevity that jack lost the weight on, but even thought Jack is not as active, ( he is a drummer and very muscular and his metobloism still is fast so that is why he can take 4000 to 500 calories a day, it is a battle but I have been able to maintain in weight

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Well, you have enough to worry about without worrying about your weight and weight loss, that is for sure. One thing I've adopted over time is to consider the worst-case scenario in any particular situation and then (a) acknowledge that it CAN happen; and (b) do everything I can to make sure that it doesn't.

In this instance, the worst-case scenario, I think, is that you would end up back in the hospital on an IV for nutrition: they will not let you starve to death, after all. As bad as that sounds, and I agree that it would suck, it is not as bad as some of the other things you have to worry about.

So, as you say, adhere to your meal plan strictly, meet with that dietician as you indicated you would, and relax a bit in terms of possible starvation, as it not likely to happen and is among the least of your worries, I would imagine, at the moment.

Take care, and keep us posted,

Joe

jackrabbit
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanks for the encouragement; you're right, they won't let me starve. And I like your philosophy on worst-case scenarios.

pattynonews's picture
pattynonews
Posts: 176
Joined: Aug 2009

yea you can but you can fight it, my husband has a tube, and we have learn to add different things to his supplement, He is on Isosource which has 375 calorie per can, you can ask your doctor to write an rx and any where every you get you supplies will deliver it and most insurance companies pay for it, but I buy him this stuff called weight gain I get it at GNC and each scoop is like 600 calories so what I do I mix 2 cans of isosource to a scoop and it is 1350 , just dont make it too thick it clogs the tube they say don;t add stuff but Jack has had his tube for a year and it has never gotten infected , I add eggs, butter , honey to his supplement drink, I give him a glass of V8 for his vegatables and I also buy the liquid super foods, just make sure you flush before and after, Jack even takes most of his meds through his tube, Get creative, On hot days I give him extra gatorade, I try to get at least 4000 calories in him a day, some days you cant, because of the resiule, make sure they teach you how to check that, ( that means the food you put in early did not digest, ) Jack has stayed stable but I feed him every 3 hours, The only time he lost weight was when the nurse at the hospital changed his supplement, so now I am working to get it back on him he has gain 6 pounds back from the 15 he lost, he averages 155 to 160, They say the goal is to maintain, I also use rice milk to mix with the protein powder, add honey, chocolate syrup, any thing liquid to add the calories, If you have any questions let me know

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

FYI, I was a big fan of 'sports drinks', especially the one you mention, until OncoMan advised that it actually leeches certain vital vitamins and minerals from the body. He suggested, for the best possible hydration, to use seltzer water, of all things.

I AM a big fan of V8, myself, although I drink it rather than pouring it through the tube, and I use the high fiber version, as my health professionals insist that higher fiber is a good thing for me.

Take it or leave it, but...

Take care,

Joe

jackrabbit
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2009

Joe,
I've never used sports drinks much, even before the g-tube, because of their high sugar content, and artificial flavors/colors/sweeteners. But I'd be interested to no more about the vitamin/mineral leeching issue, as my sister is a big consumer of sports drinks.

Actually, I found through research that one of the best hydrators, believe it or not, is coconut water/juice (not coconut milk). During previous wars it was actually used as an IV fluid, because it is the only liquid which has a perfect balance of electrolytes which almost exactly match human blood.

I'll definitely be trying some V8 down my tube though, I'm keen on anything that is a healthier alternative to the formulas I'm on. While the formulas may have the perfect balance of proteins/carbs/fats/fiber/vitamins/minerals, I'm not very keen on existing on a diet consisting solely of vitamin enhanced corn syrup. I don't believe it can possibly be healthy for me.

jackrabbit
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2009

PATTYNONEWS - You've posted some great ideas for calorie intake that I hadn't even thought of - chocolate syrup, honey, protein powder, etc.
I'm just brand new to the tube and very scared of clogging it or doing anything to cause problems. My dietitian is a big believer in the formulas and keeps warning me about the dangers of clogging the tube if I try to put real food (blended or juiced of course) down it. I don't really know what sort of stuff is likely to clog the tube or not. I've thought of using protein powder but am afraid that the little grains will get caught in the tube or something.
Also, I'd never been told about residual undigested food. I will definitely ask my nurse about that.
Also, my dietitian keeps talking about the PERFECT balance of proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals in the formula, and I've gotten a little worried that adding anything extra will throw the balance out of whack or overdose me on vitamins or something. Truth be told, even though I was an athlete I was never particularly concerned with scientific exactitude and perfect balance in my food - I just tried to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Maybe I'm a little over worried about my diet with the g-tube... I just want to make sure I do everything right because the last thing I want is complications of any kind.
Anyway, all suggestions, wisdom, and tips regarding g-tubes and feeding are welcome and appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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