How To Use And Care For Your Peg Tube


A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube is a soft, plastic tube that is put into your stomach through your skin. A PEG tube may be used to feed you or for decompression. Decompression is when air or liquid is let out of your stomach. A PEG tube that is used to give you food and liquids may help you gain weight. A PEG tube that is used for decompression can help decrease vomiting, and stomach pain.


Always flush your PEG tube:

Always flush your PEG tube with water to prevent it from getting clogged. Your PEG tube should be flushed both before and after you give a feeding or medicine through it. The amount of flush water to use is usually 30 milliliters (mL) or about 2 tablespoons. Follow the directions from your primary healthcare provider or PEG tube specialist for flushing your PEG tube.

Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.

  • Medicine through your PEG tube: If you need to crush medicine to put into your PEG tube, make sure it is crushed into a fine powder. Mix the crushed medicine with water before giving it through the PEG tube. Use sterile (germ-free) water to do this.

Care for your PEG tube:

If you care for your PEG tube, you will help to keep it working as it should.

  • Keep it secure: Do not pull on it. Do not let the feeding tubing pull on it during a feeding. If your PEG tube comes out, it needs to be replaced right away. Your stoma (hole where the tube goes into your body) will start to close soon after the tube comes out.

  • Check it: Check the bumper (piece that goes around the end of the tube, next to your skin). It should be snug, but not too tight, against your skin. Tell your primary healthcare provider if the bumper seems too tight or too loose against your skin. Check your PEG tube often to see if the length of the tube has changed. Check the tube from the end of it to where it goes into your body. If it gets longer or shorter, let your primary healthcare provider know right away.

  • Clean it: Clean the hub end of your PEG tube daily as directed. Do not let the hub end of the PEG tube touch anything when you disconnect it from a syringe or tube. Use a new alcohol pad to wipe off the end of the PEG tube. Do this before you connect anything to your PEG tube or after you disconnect anything from your PEG tube.

  • Unclog it: Flush your PEG tube with warm water if it is clogged. Never use a wire to unclog the tube. A wire can poke a hole in the tube. Ask your primary healthcare provider or PEG tube specialist for more information about how to unclog your tube.

Care for the skin around your PEG tube:

If you care for your skin, you will help to keep it from getting damaged or infected.

  • Clean your skin: Clean the skin around your PEG tube 1 to 2 times each day. Check for redness and swelling in the area where the tube goes into your body. Check for fluid draining from the hole where the tube was put in.

  • Turn the tube: Gently turn your tube daily. This may decrease bumper pressure on your skin, and help prevent an infection.

  • Keep your skin dry: Keep the skin around your PEG tube dry. Do not use bandages under your tube bumper, unless you have been told to do so.

  • Use skin medicines as directed: If you are having problems with fluid coming from your stoma, you may need to put barrier cream on the skin around your tube, after you are done cleaning it. You may need to put antibiotic (germ-killing) cream on the skin around your tube if you get an infection. You may also need to take antibiotic medicine as pills.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or PEG tube specialist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or PEG tube specialist if:

  • You have stomach pain after each feeding or when you move around.

  • You have diarrhea or are constipated.

  • Your mouth feels dry, your heart feels like it is beating too fast, or you feel weak.

  • Your weight changes more than what your caregiver has told you it should.

  • You have a fever.

  • The skin around your PEG tube is sore, red, or swollen, or there is pus coming out of your stoma.

  • You have formula, medicine, or drainage coming out from around your PEG tube.

  • Your symptoms do not go away with treatment.

  • Your PEG tube is longer than it was when it was put in.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel sick to your stomach, vomit, or your abdomen is swollen and painful.

  • You have blood coming out of your PEG tube, the stoma, or your anus.

  • You have sudden abdominal pain and dizziness.

  • Your PEG tube is shorter than it was when it was put in.

  • Your PEG tube comes out.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.