Life with a GI Disorder

The GI

When you have a GI disorder, also known as a gastrointestinal disorder, three simple words — Nourishing every day — can make a difference. Nourishing your body with the nutrition it requires can give you the energy you need to embrace each day to your fullest.

Some people 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 someone 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 your body that are needed for breaking down, processing and absorbing food. When someone 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. It can also include Crohn's disease of the stomach.

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, ramifications of cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis or pancreatitis, short bowel syndrome, chronic diarrhea and malnutrition-related 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.


Understanding Tube Feeding

Using a feeding tube for the first time can be overwhelming.

To meet your nutritional needs, your doctor may have prescribed home enteral nutrition — commonly known as home tube feeding. Enteral nutrition means that a liquid, nutrient-rich formula flows gently through a tube into your stomach or intestine.



Read about Lisa. The way she approaches life despite her gastroparesis is an inspiration!


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.


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