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About this decision tool
Some people with ALS have trouble eating, drinking and taking medicine on their own. A feeding tube is a type of medical device that can help you get the nutrition you need. Whether you’re considering getting a feeding tube soon or planning for your future care, this tool can help you understand your treatment options and make an informed decision.
You may benefit from using a feeding tube if you have any of these symptoms:
- Having trouble chewing and swallowing food, drinks or medicine
- Having trouble breathing while you’re eating or drinking
- Feeling like food and drinks are “going down the wrong way” or getting stuck in your throat
- Not feeling hungry or eating less than you used to
- Taking a long time to finish a meal
- Losing weight — even if you’re not eating less than you used to
- Health problems from not drinking enough water, like feeling constipated or having saliva (spit) that is thicker than usual
Even if you’re not having these symptoms right now, it’s never too early to plan for your future care. In addition, placing a feeding tube is easier and safer when it’s done earlier — even before you start to have problems with swallowing.
You can use this tool to learn more about using a feeding tube. Then, talk to your ALS care team. Together, you and your care team can find a treatment plan that works for you.