There are a variety of health conditions that contribute to urinary issues. These conditions include nerve damage, prostate cancer, obstructions of the urethra, and surgical procedures. For these purposes, Foley catheters are often used to assist with emptying the bladder. In addition to injury or illness, Foley catheters can be used for sterile urine collection or to allow a person to empty their bladder following surgery where they can’t get out of bed immediately.
In simple terms, a Foley catheter is a line of sterile tubing that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder in order to drain urine. The end of the catheter that reaches the bladder has a small balloon attached to the end, which is inflated after insertion to secure the catheter in place.
Once a Foley or indwelling catheter is inserted by a healthcare professional, it’s important to maintain proper care of the genital area, especially near the tubing. Washing the genital or anal area, as well as the tubing itself, should be done at least twice a day, especially after a bowel movement.
Be sure not to detach the tubing from the drainage bag unless you’re cleaning or changing the bag. Be sure to keep the drainage bag below your waist level and avoid looping or kinking the tubing. This can prevent emptied urine from being flushed back into the bladder, which can lead to infection or bladder damage.
It’s important to consider the material used in the catheter of your choosing. They come in a variety of materials including silicone, rubber, and plastic in an effort to avoid allergic reactions in different patients.
It’s okay to shower with a catheter in place, but you should avoid taking a bath, as baths can increase your risk of developing an infection. When showering, attach your night drainage bag rather than the leg drainage bag.
There are bed bags that a person can use while they’re sleeping. These bags hook onto the railing of a bed, just above the floor so that the bag is continuously below waist level.
Catheters can be very helpful when it comes to issues involving the bladder, so long as the tubing and drainage bag are properly maintained, cleaned, and regularly changed. It’s important to look for bodily changes that might signify infection or improper catheter placement. Any concerns should be mentioned to your healthcare provider.