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Everything you need to know about changing your urinary catheter

Condom catheters

Whether you’re dealing with urinary incontinence or recovering from a surgery, your physician may have put you on a urinary catheter. And while the proper care of your catheter is not difficult, it is extremely important. Catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI’s) are actually the most common healthcare-related infections, accounting for over 30 percent of infections reported by acute care hospitals. Follow the instructions below to avoid any possible contamination and remember that if you need additional help, you can talk to your doctor or even a professional at a medical supply store.

Above all, you need to clean the catheter site (where the catheter exits your body) daily with soap and water. You should also be very careful to clean the area after any bowel movements. This is a must to keep the area free from infection.

There are all types of urinary catheters but you probably are just using two different kinds of drain bags, one for overnight and one for day use. The overnight bag should be larger whereas the smaller daily bag can fit underneath your clothes for easy use. Urinary drain bags are available at any medical supply store.

To change your drainage bag:
1. Above the bag, pinch the catheter to stop the urine from flowing.
2. Twist the tube and bag away from the catheter to disconnect.
3. Thoroughly clean the new tubing and the catheter site with an alcohol pad (can buy at a medical supply store as well) before connecting.
4. Insert the new tube into the catheter gently.

Because the day bag is smaller than the night bag, you will have to change it more frequently. We recommend changing it at least twice a day or whenever the bag is half full. Then, while you’re sleeping and using the night bag, let the day bag clean itself. You must do this every single day. Rinse it out with 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar and let it soak for twenty minutes. Then hang it up to dry overnight. The bag will most likely need to be replaced at least twice a month.

If you are experiencing any problems or leakage, contact your doctor as you may need a replacement that can be purchased at a medical supply store or you may have a more serious issue that needs to be addressed.

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