Making Care More Comfortable: Gastrostomy (G) Tubes

Gastrostomy tubes often called a G-tube or button feeding tube, is a tube inserted through the belly that brings nutrition directly to the stomach for those who cannot eat enough for adequate nutrition.

A G-tube is considered a more long-term feeding method compared to a nasogastric tube, or NG-tube, which carries food to the stomach through the nose.

Caring for Your G-Tube

Daily care and maintenance of your gastrostomy site and G-tube are an essential part of your tube feeding routine. Proper care can help guard against skin irritation, infections, and help your G-tube last longer.

Daily gastrostomy care includes:

  1. Ensuring your hands are clean prior to touching the tube or stoma site.
  2. Clean and dry the area thoroughly twice a day – don’t forget under the external bumper!
  3. Flush G-tube with 5ml water at least twice a day to prevent tube blockages.
  4. Rotate tube 360 degrees each day to prevent scar tissue from forming and lessen the risk of skin breakdown. If your G-tube has been stitched in place, do not attempt to rotate.
  5. Always check tube placement prior to use. The tube should lie snug against the stomach without making an indent in the skin. If you think your tube isn’t in the right position, contact your doctor.  
  6. Monitor for signs of infection around your stoma.

If your G-tube comes out, don’t panic! Follow the steps below for changing your G-tube.

G-tube Sizing

G-tubes sizing has two components: the size of the tube and length. The diameter of the tube is the size of the G-tube and goes by French size, while the stem length is in centimeters, and varies based on stoma lengths. If the G-tube is pressing tightly against the skin or has a lot of room, you may need a different stem length.

It is important to keep the following information on hand when reordering from your medical supply company:

  • Brand of G-tube
  • Size of tube (French Size)
  • Stem Length
  • Type
  • Balloon / non-balloon

Changing Your G-Tube

The length of time between G-tube changing can vary, but generally, G-tubes should be changed every three months. G-tubes can be easily removed by pulling. Once the tube has been removed, you should immediately replace it with a new G-tube to prevent the stoma site from closing. The stoma will not close during the 2-minute process of a change.

Changing your G-tube can be done at home when you’re calm and have a settled stomach. It should not be performed right after a meal. Always receive proper training from a doctor before trying to do it on your own.

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Sterile water or distilled water
  • New G-tube
  • 5 to 10 ml syringe for flushing
  • HR® Lubricating Jelly
Caregiver changing g-tube of child

How do I replace the gastrostomy tube?

  1. Pull 3 to 5ml of sterile water into the syringe and place syringe onto balloon port to test. Deflate the balloon while keeping the syringe attached.
  2. Place HR Lubricating Jelly on the tip of the new G-tube and gently push the tube into stoma at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Slowly inflate the balloon with sterile water then remove the syringe from the balloon port.
  4. Check the tube for correct placement.

These are tips only and not a substitute for medical advice.

“If you have a button feeding tube that you change at home by yourself, this is the best lube to use. It’s slippery but thick, so it sticks to the post and doesn’t drip off. Sometimes a lot of force is required to push the post into your stoma, and HR Lubricating Jelly helps limit the pain and friction.”

Tina L.

Get More Done Using One

Caregivers need multi-purpose lubricants that make changing a gastrostomy tube easier and more comfortable. HR® Lubricating Jelly’s quality ingredients create an optimal formula for versatile usage while remaining cost-competitive. For all of your lubricant needs, browse our entire product line today.

Need help locating HR Lubricating Jelly?

HR Lubricating Jelly is available at medical supply stores across the country as well as online retailers, such as Amazon. If you are having trouble locating HR Lubricating Jelly, please contact us today and we will help locate a supplier.