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Indwelling catheter care

Foley catheter; Suprapubic tube

Description

You have an indwelling catheter (tube) in your bladder. "Indwelling" means inside your body. This catheter drains urine from your bladder into a bag outside your body. Common reasons to have an indwelling catheter are urinary incontinence (leakage), urinary retention (not being able to urinate), surgery that made this catheter necessary, or another health problem.

What to Expect at Home

You will need to make sure your indwelling catheter is working properly. You will also need to know how to clean the tube and the area where it attaches to your body so that you do not get an infection or skin irritation. Make catheter and skin care part of your daily routine. Ask your health care provider if you may take a shower with the catheter in place.

Avoid physical activity for a week or two after your catheter is placed in your bladder.

Cleaning Your Skin

You will need these supplies for cleaning your skin around your catheter and for cleaning your catheter:

Follow these skin care guidelines once a day, every day, or more often if needed:

Cleaning the Catheter

Follow these steps two times a day to keep your catheter clean and free of germs that can cause infection:

You will attach the catheter to your inner thigh with a special fastening device.

You may be given two bags. One bag attaches to your thigh for use during the day. The second one is larger and has a longer connection tube. This bag holds enough so you can use it overnight. You will be shown how to disconnect the bags from the Foley catheter in order to switch them. You will also be taught how to empty the bags through a separate valve without needing to disconnect the bag from the Foley catheter.

Making Sure Your Catheter is Working

You will need to check your catheter and bag throughout the day.

When to Call the Doctor

A urinary tract infection is the most common problem for people with an indwelling urinary catheter.

Call your provider if you have signs of an infection, such as:

Also call your provider if:

Related Information

Transurethral resection of the prostate
Radical prostatectomy
Stress urinary incontinence
Urge incontinence
Urinary incontinence
Sterile technique
Urinary incontinence surgery - female - discharge
When you have urinary incontinence
Urine drainage bags
Urinary catheters - what to ask your doctor
Prostate resection - minimally invasive - discharge
Transurethral resection of the prostate - discharge

References

Davis JE, Silverman MA. Urologic procedures. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 55.

Solomon ER, Sultana CJ. Bladder drainage and urinary protective methods. In: Walters MD, Karram MM, eds. Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 43.

Trautner BW, Hooton TM. Health care-associated urinary tract infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 302.

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Review Date: 1/10/2021  

Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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