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Urinary catheters - what to ask your doctor

  • Definition
    • You have an indwelling catheter (tube) in your bladder. This means the tube is inside your body. This catheter drains urine from your bladder into a bag outside your body.

      Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your catheter.

  • Alternative Names
    • What to ask your doctor about urinary catheters

  • Questions
    • How do I take care of the skin around the catheter? How often should I clean the area?

      How much water or liquid should I be drinking?

      Can I take a shower? How about a bath?

      Can I walk around or exercise with the catheter in place?

      What supplies do I need to keep in my home to care for my catheter? Where can I get them? How much do they cost?

      How often do I need to empty the urine bag? How do I do that? Do I need to wear gloves?

      How often do I need to clean the urine bag or catheter? How do I do that?

      What do I do if there is blood in my urine? If my urine is cloudy? If my urine has an odor?

      If I use a leg bag, how often do I need to change it? How do I empty it when I am in a public bathroom?

      Should I switch to a larger bag for nighttime? How do I change this kind of bag?

      What do I do if the catheter comes out or off?

      What do I do if the catheter stops draining?

      What are the signs that I have an infection?

  • References
    • Goode PS, Burgio KL, Richter HE, Markland AD. Incontinence in older women. JAMA. 2010;303(21):2172-2181. PMID: 20516418 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20516418.

      Hashim H, Abrams P. Evaluation and management of men with urinary incontinence. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 72.

      Newman DK, Burgio KL. Conservative management of urinary incontinence. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 80.

      Tailly T, Denstedt JD. Fundamentals of urinary tract drainage. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 6.