Page 1 - Urethral Catheter Care
P. 1

Urological Health

                                 Urethral catheter care

        Proper catheter care will reduce discomfort and prevent complications.

             rine is produced by the kidneys and carried into     When catheter removal is appropriate, the balloon
        Uthe bladder where it is stored until emptying            is deflated with a syringe applied to a valve on the
        is appropriate. Normally, the bladder empties by          catheter.
        coordinated contraction of the bladder muscle and
        relaxation of the control muscles (urethral sphincters)   An in-dwelling catheter drains urine continuously into
        to expel urine through its outlet, the urethra.           a drainage bag. When it fills, the bag can be emptied
                                                                  directly into a toilet. During the day, most active men
        When the bladder cannot empty on its own, it must         and women will prefer to use a small collection bag
        be drained to prevent urine build up, discomfort and      strapped to the leg (leg bag) and worn discretely
        possible kidney damage. Bladder drainage may be           under the clothing. A larger capacity drainage bag
        required due to obstruction of its outlet (often from     can be connected at bedtime and hung at the
        prostate enlargement in men) or inadequate bladder        bedside or placed on the floor. You will be instructed
        muscle contraction. After surgery or serious injury,      how to connect and drain your bags.
        continuous bladder drainage is often needed until
        recovery is well underway.                                The size (diameter), material and type of your
                                                                  catheter will be determined by your physician
        A urethral catheter is a narrow, flexible tube passed     according to your needs. Generally, a narrower
        into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine.      catheter will cause less irritation.
        The catheter can be left in place for several days or
        weeks until you are ready to void spontaneously. In       In some cases, a patient can be taught to insert
        some, bladder emptying by catheter may be required        a catheter to drain the bladder after which the
        for longer periods or permanently. Temporary catheter     catheter is removed rather than leaving it in-dwelling.
        drainage may be used to accurately measure urine          This intermittent-self-catheterization decreases the
        output or when urine leakage (incontinence) causes        discomfort of carrying a catheter continuously and
        skin problems.                                            reduces the risk of infection. A suprapubic catheter
                                                                  is an in-dwelling bladder drainage tube inserted
        A small balloon inflated with water on the catheter       directly into the bladder through a small incision in the
        tip prevents it from slipping out of the bladder.         lower abdomen. This allows bladder drainage while
                                                                  avoiding the urethra.

                                                                  Hygiene and catheter care
                                                                  The catheter should be taped or strapped to the thigh
                                                                  with a Velcro strap (available through most medical
                                                                  supply stores) to prevent pulling and irritation of the
                                                                  urethral opening. Avoid over-tightening the catheter
                                  Roula Drossis                   and leg bag straps. The drainage bag should always
                                                                  be kept below the level of the bladder to prevent
                                                                  urine from backing up. Your catheter bag should be
                                                                  emptied at least every 8 hours.

                                                                  It is important to maintain good hygiene to prevent
                                                                  infection. Wash your hands before and after emptying
                                                                  or changing your drainage bag. When changing
                                                                  bags, the connections should be wiped with an
                                                     Roula Drossis  alcohol swab (available at any pharmacy).                       Roula Drossis

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