A foley catheter is a thin tube that's placed into your bladder and held in place with a small balloon. The catheter drains your bladder or urine because you're unable to use the restroom on your own. Unfortunately, without proper care, a catheter that's placed for an extended amount of time can cause discomfort and infection. Follow these tips to take care of your catheter properly.
Caring for the Leg Bag
You should wear your drainage bag below the knee so your catheter can still drain your bladder while you're sitting down. However, you don't need to put the bag at your ankle. Simply secure it to your calf so that it can be covered if needed. Catheter bags are typically secured together using velcro straps. The straps need to be secure, but they should not be tight enough to cut off the blood circulation to the area. It's important to empty the bag every few hours while you're wear it. You don't want to wait until the bag becomes full, because it's more likely the bag would break accidentally when it's completely full.
Caring for the Night Bag
When you sleep, the drainage bag needs to be kept lower than your bladder. It won't drain properly if you're still wearing it on your leg. So before you go to bed, remove the bag from your leg and hang it over the side of the bag. Make sure that it isn't dangling over the side of the bag. There shouldn't be tension in the tube. Ideally, you should have enough tubing that your catheter bag can sit in a bucket on the floor while you sleep. This way, if it accidentally bursts, the urine is contained and you can rest easily.
It extremely important to cleanse the area where the catheter enters your body to keep bacteria away. When you shower, use a mild soap and warm water to clean your genital area, especially the part where the catheter enters your body. If needed, men should pull back any foreskin surrounded the area so they can get it properly cleaned. Women should separate the labia, and clean the enter area in a front-to-back motion.
Taking care of your catheter isn't overly difficult but it is important. Without proper care, you could end up with an infection. If you have any questions about your catheter, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible.