Urinary catheters are used to drain the bladder. Your doctor may recommend it a myriad of reasons such as urinary incontinence (inability to control urination), urinary retention (being unable to empty the bladder when needed), surgery on the prostate or genitals, and/or other medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, dementia, etc.
A permanent urinary catheter is called a foley catheter and is placed in the bladder and can be used for a short period of time or for a long period of time; it is attached to a drainage bag to collect urine. However, sometimes there may be leakage of urine from the catheter, which may be because it is clogged, twisted, is too small, has an inadequate balloon size or you are experiencing bladder spasms, constipation or a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Risks and complications that arise from the use of a catheter includes allergies (due to sensitivity to latex), kidney stones, blood infection (septicemia), blood in the urine (hematuria), kidney damage, infection and sometimes urethral injury.
Tips for proper maintenance of the urinary catheter:
– Drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids per day (water, juices, broth, infusions, etc.) to increase the production of urine.
– Wash your hands with soap and water before manipulating the catheter or bag.
– Wash the genital area every day to prevent any infections.
– Make sure that the bag is properly connected to the tube to avoid any mess.
– Check that the tube of the catheter is not bent so that the passage of urine is not impeded.
– The drainage bag should always remain below bladder level to prevent a backflow of urine into the bladder. Do not forget, the drainage pouch should be emptied at least every 8 hours or when full.
– Make sure to have the catheter connected to the bag during nighttime so you do not have to get up and ensure that the bladder empties well.
-Do not pull the catheter, it could be torn off or damaged.
Remember, a urinary catheter should not prevent you from living a normal, social and active life. Most experts are against the routine change of catheters (intermittent catheters), unless the catheter is clogged, cause pain or infected. These recommendations can prevent dangerous invasions of microbes and the catheter can last longer without the need to change it. Consult your doctor or specialist immediately if you present any signs of a UTI.