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Health Tip: Catheter Hygiene

How to care for the device

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDay News) -- A urinary catheter is a small, flexible tube inserted into the bladder to collect urine. A catheter may be used for a brief period after surgery when someone is unable to use the bathroom, or more long-term when illness or injury makes its use necessary.

Cleaning the catheter is important to prevent infection. Here are some suggestions from the U.S. National Library of Medicine on how to take proper care of a catheter:

  • Wash the catheter itself, the urethra and the surrounding skin, where the catheter exits the body, daily with soap and water.
  • After every bowel movement, wash the urethra and catheter with soap and water.
  • Keep the drainage bag lower than the kidneys to prevent a backflow of urine.
  • Empty the drainage bag every eight hours.
  • Replace the catheter when clogged, or when there are signs of pain or infection.


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