Leakage of Formula or Stomach Contents AROUND the Tube
Leakage of formula or stomach contents from the tube site (around the tube or button) is more concerning because nutrients may be lost, and the acid from stomach contents may damage skin. Leakage of formula or stomach contents is not considered normal. It may be more likely to occur in children with J-tubes, children with connective tissue or skin disorders, and children with tubes that do not fit correctly.
Common causes of leakage from around the tube:
- Wrong size tube or button
- Uninflated or partially inflated balloon in a balloon button
- Stretched-out or damaged tube site
- Severe dysmotility
To eliminate leakage, first make sure your child has the right size tube as prescribed by the doctor, and that the balloon is properly inflated in a balloon-style button or tube. You can learn more about checking the balloon on our Living with a G-tube page. If the tube size does not look correct, consult your physician to have your child resized. Information on sizing is available on our G-tube page.
You should always consult your child’s physician if formula or stomach contents are leaking around the tube and you cannot resolve it by replacing the tube or properly inflating the balloon. Sometimes, sites become stretched out and may need to be tightened. In other cases, when extreme dysmotility and pressure causes leakage, venting or draining the stomach may be necessary. Your child’s doctor can help you determine the cause and a treatment. In rare cases, an ostomy or wound nurse, who specializes in the care of stomas or wounds, may be required to treat leakage.