7 Important Medical Facts To Know About How Catheters Work

If you or a loved one recently had a catheter placed, learning to care for it can be confusing. Catheters work by opening the urethra with a tube to allow direct drainage from the bladder into a bag. There are several important ways to ensure proper function.

1. Fluids Reduce Clogs

If you have an indwelling catheter, you are prone to developing urinary tract infections since there is more bacteria in your urine. Catheters create a direct route for bacteria to reach your bladder. UTIs are usually accompanied by mucus or sediment, which can clog your catheter tubing. One of the best ways to reduce your chances of developing a UTI and mucus in your urine is to drink plenty of fluids each day. Clogs can make infections worse and cause more serious complications if your urine is backed up.

2. Proper Storage Prevents Backflow

Your catheter bag should always be stored below your waist. Leg bags can be used if you plan to walk and prefer not to have the bag exposed. When you are laying in bed for long periods or sleeping during the night, a standard drainage bag should be placed below your body. When you store your catheter bag above your waist while sitting or standing or above your body while lying down, your urine can back up into your ureters or kidneys and lead to an infection.

3. Catheters Need Daily Cleaning

Since catheters make you more prone to developing infections, you must clean the bag, the tubing near the insertion site and the skin surrounding the site daily. Doctors recommend that you clean it twice daily using the instructions that they provide. Although many people clean the tubing and skin near the insertion site, many forget to clean the bag. However, bags are one of the biggest collection sites for bacteria.

4. Regular Emptying Prevents Backflow

Emptying a catheter bag can feel like a chore, and this is especially true when you take medications that increase your urine output. Many people wait to empty their bags until they are full. The problem with this is that a full bag can overfill quickly and lead to urinary backflow. Experts recommend emptying your bag when it is halfway full to prevent this. Also, a full bag is heavier, and fullness puts more strain on a bag’s seams.

5. Catheters Must Not Be Pulled

To function correctly, a catheter should have plenty of slack. If you have a catheter for a long time, you are sure to accidentally pull it hard at least once. People often forget to pick up their bag when they move, and some people accidentally pull it in their sleep. If this happens and the ensuing pain persists for more than a few hours or is severe, call a doctor. There is a small inflatable balloon keeping the catheter in the bladder. Pulling it out can lead to bleeding, inflammation and infection. These problems hinder proper drainage. If the catheter comes out or needs to be replaced, only a physician or qualified nurse should handle it.

6. Changing Schedules Must Be Followed

Catheter tubes and bags are not designed to last forever. Drainage apparatuses wear out over time since they are opened and closed frequently. Catheter tubes accumulate sediment and bacteria, and they must be replaced occasionally. Your doctor will discuss the right changing schedule for you based on your urine and several health factors.

7. Catheters Can Cause Spasms

When a foreign object is introduced into your urethra and bladder, it can cause your bladder to react with spasms. If you have sudden pain that is accompanied by urine leakage after a catheter insertion, it is probably because of spasms. There are medications that can help. When pain following insertion comes with bleeding instead, it may mean that the balloon was inflated too soon and will need to be fixed.

Always wash your hands before and after touching the catheter bag or tubing. Infection is the biggest force working against you, and taking every step to mitigate your risks will help you stay healthy and comfortable.

Follow Us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *