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Tips For Catheter Use

Can I take a shower with a catheter inserted?
Can I apply a lotion or powder to the catheter site?
What else should I do to care for my catheter?
What kind of catheter problems should I talk to my physician about?
How should drainage bags be safely handled?

Can I take a shower with a catheter inserted?
Yes, there is no problem taking a shower while wearing a catheter, unless your physician does not recommend it. Baths are generally not recommended. While showering, avoid excessive hot or cold water.


Can I apply a lotion or powder to the catheter site?
No, you should not use any lotions or powders at the catheter site. Approved lubricants are available to prevent irritation.


What else should I do to care for my catheter?
These tips will help make your catheter use more pleasant:
  • Wash twice per day at the catheter site, using soap and water.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water or fruit juice.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables.
  • Put a piece of gauze around the catheter site in case of leaks. Replace each time the catheter is replaced.
  • Keep the drainage bag below the catheter site.
  • Do not pull or tug on the catheter.

What kind of catheter problems should I talk to my physician about?
Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about any concerns; your health is too important. If you have any of the following symptoms, be sure to talk to your physician:
  • Swelling, redness, and excessive draining.
  • Blood or a change in the consistancy of your urine(ex. Your urine becomes thicker than usual.)
  • Change in the color of your urine.
  • A foul odor from the urine.
  • A fever of over hundred degrees farenheit or higher.
  • Vomiting, nausea, chills.
  • Pain in abdomen or lower back.
  • Leaking from the catheter or catheter site.

How should drainage bags be safely handled?
  • Always wash your hands before and after draining the urine, even if you are putting on gloves. This step is extremely critical in preventing infection.
  • Avoid touching the cap and the interior of the collection container.
  • Clean any spills immediately.
  • Before emptying the drainage bag, make sure that the area is well-lit and is a place where you can easily maintain balance.

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Sources
Sloan Kettering Institute - Urinary Catheter Care
MedlinePlus.gov - Caring For Your Catheter
Catheter Care and Maintenance. Content last reviewed March 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Helpful articles
Urology Group
eMedicine - Urology Articles
American Urological Association

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