Urinary catheterisation is, sometimes, performed to manage urinary incontinence, urinary retention and for certain other reasons in both men and women. The catheter may be inserted for short term or long term use. If you a have indwelling catheter or use catheter for more than a few days, regular follow-up with the doctor must be an important part of care to maintain the catheter and reduce the risk of complications.
Care for Your Catheter
After insertion of a catheter, discuss with your doctor on how to care for it. According to many experts, routine changing (replacing) of the catheters is not recommended. To reduce the risk of infection, the catheter should be changed every three to six weeks. Changing the catheter before this is needed if it gets clogged, p, infected or is painful.
Regular care of the indwelling catheter includes cleaning of the urethral area (where the catheter enters the body) and the catheter with soap and water every day and after all bowel movements to prevent infection. Regular use of antimicrobial ointments around the catheter is not recommended as it does not actually reduce infections. Drink a lot of fluid daily (unless you have been advised to limit fluid intake due to some medical condition) to reduce the risk of developing complications.
Care of Drainage Bag
The drainage bag must be kept lower than bladder to prevent urine from flowing back up into the bladder. Empty the drainage bag at least every 8 hours or when it is full. Keep the outlet valve clean (wash it with soap and water when it is dirty) to prevent it from becoming infected. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling the drainage bag.
According to some experts, the drainage bag should be cleaned periodically. You can use 2 parts vinegar and 3 parts water or chlorine bleach to clean the drainage bag. The bag should be soaked with the cleaning solution for about 20 minutes. After this, drain the cleaning solution and hang the bag with the outlet valve open to dry the bag. Discuss with your doctor on how to care for and clean the drainage bag.