A urinary catheter is a flexible tube used to drain urine directly from the bladder. Most catheters transfer urine to a drainage bag that can be emptied regularly.
You may need to use a urinary catheter if you struggle to control when you urinate (leaking through incontinence) or if you are unable to empty your bladder due to urinary retention. Urinary catheterisation may be necessary for the any of the following reasons:
Seek immediate medical attention in the case of infection as septicaemia can be life-threatening. Your doctor may require a blood or urine samples to test for infection.
The drainage bag should be stored lower than bladder level. Many people strap this to their leg during the day using a leg strap, bag or leg sleeve. A larger capacity bag is used overnight which is placed on a stand by the bed (but not touching the floor). It is important to make sure the bag is supported and will not apply pressure to the catheter. The drainage bag should be emptied every 4-8 hours or when the bag is half full, whichever comes first. On draining, ensure that the end of the catheter never touches the container that it is being drained into. It is necessary to maintain a closed drainage system to prevent infection.
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