Whether temporary or long term, at some point or another many people find themselves needing to use a catheter. Catheters are used to help drain the bladder when it doesn’t empty for health-related reasons. The usage of a catheter might sound unusual at first, but it’s quite safe. In fact, catheters have actually been used for more than 3500 years! That being said, there are some things to know about best practices and making sure your experience with a catheter is as seamless as possible.
When catheters are being used it is really important to empty and clean the bag regularly. It is suggested that the catheter bag be emptied at least twice every day, but maybe more if it fills up the half-full mark more often. Additionally, it is suggested to clean catheter bags every day and replace it once a week or every two weeks. (A doctor will always be able to best advise on that timeline depending on your individual needs.)
Another thing to know about using catheters is that it’s possible to get bladder infections while using them. This is fairly common as bacteria can get in when a catheter is inserted at the hospital. In fact, this is such a common occurrence, that Catheter-Associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI’s), have been called the most common infections that can happen at the hospital.
Getting a bladder infection from a catheter can also happen through the use of an intermittent catheter at home since there is a bit of in and out happening. For this reason, it is very important to keep everything clean while it is being used. Like anything, having awareness about the safety around using intermittent catheters can go a long way towards making the right choices and protecting oneself throughout the process.
There are a number of different urological supplies to choose from out there, so it can also be important to choose the best possible option when a choice is on the table. Generally, a good physician will be able to explain why they use a particular type of catheter or other form of urilogical supplies.