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Urinary catheters - what to ask your doctor

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 doctor or nurse to help you take care of your catheter.

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?

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

What are the signs that I have a urine infection?

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about urinary catheters

Update Date: 2/24/2011

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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