Right Time for NG Tube for Anorexia Recovery?

By January 8, 2013

I happened upon this website, and it is a literal Godsend! Thank you for all your answers to some of those questions I’ve needed answered. I also have a question that I was wondering if someone could answer (if anything, just in an email…because I am so conflicted). When is the right time to allow a doctor to place an NG tube? I am really trying to recover, but I have lost weight and my therapist/dietitian is concerned. My steps are tiny, and I guess not enough. But I don’t want to just resort to a tube. Would it be more important to set that fear aside and get the tube for my health? Or should I keep on trying to make these small steps? – Thanks again. – Lily


A tube can be helpful if you are not moving forward in your recovery. It sounds as if you are not able to take in enough nutrition to maintain your weight, let alone to restore to a healthy weight. Recovery from an ED requires you to be moving to a weight that is normal and healthy.

Using a tube is not a failure or something you “resort” to. It is a tool, just like your treatment team is a tool, to help you recover. If your doctor is willing to supervise the tube, it sounds like an option. It doesn’t replace eating, but it helps you move from this stuck point.

I wish you the best.

Brenda K. Woods, MD, FAAFP