catheter is a flexible plastic tube used to drain
urine from the bladder when a person cannot urinate. A doctor will
place the catheter into the bladder by inserting it through the urethra. The urethra is the
opening that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
the catheter is in the bladder, a small balloon is inflated to keep the
catheter in place. The catheter allows urine to drain from the bladder into a
bag that is usually attached to the thigh. Urinary catheters can be used in both men and women . An indwelling catheter is one that stays in for a
longer period of time.
A catheter may be
needed because of certain medical conditions. These include an enlarged prostate or problems controlling the release of urine. It may be used after surgery on the pelvis or
urinary tract. Urinary catheters are also used when the lower part of the body
If you are helping a loved one with a catheter, try to be as relaxed as possible. Caring for a catheter can be embarrassing for both of you. This may be especially true if you are caring for someone of the opposite sex. If you are not embarrassed or upset, the person may feel more comfortable.
Always wash your hands before and
after handling a catheter. Follow all of the instructions the doctor has
- Make sure that urine is flowing out of the
catheter into the urine collection bag. Make sure that the catheter tubing does
not get twisted or kinked.
- Keep the urine collection bag below the
level of the bladder.
- Make sure that the urine collection bag does
not drag and pull on the catheter.
- It is okay to shower with a catheter and urine collection bag in
place, unless the doctor says not to.
- Check for inflammation or signs of infection in the area
around the catheter. Signs of infection include pus or irritated, swollen, red,
or tender skin.
- Clean the area around the catheter twice a day
with water. Dry with a clean towel afterward.
- Do not
apply powder or lotion to the skin around the catheter.
- Do not tug
or pull on the catheter.
- A person should not have sexual intercourse while
wearing a catheter.
- At night it may be helpful to hang the urine
collection bag on the side of the bed.