How Often Should I Change a Urinary Catheter?

Urinary catheters play an important role in patients with urine retention issues. They provide a safe and less embarrassing way to drain urine when it is not physically possible to do so. Furthermore, they help patients with genital wounds to stay dry, which provides a better healing environment. But like any other medical device, you can only use a catheter for a short period.

Why Do Urinary Catheters Need to Be Changed?

The main reason to change your catheter is to prevent infection. Since catheters are in direct contact with the urinary tract, they can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI) if they are left for long. Changing your catheter regularly also helps to prevent breakage or malfunction. This often happens when the catheter material deteriorates over time. Even without the breakage, a catheter worn for too long is bound to cause discomfort.

How Often Should Urinary Catheters Be Changed?

There are different types of urinary catheters, each with its own requirements. These include Foley catheters, intermittent catheters, and external catheters. Knowing how often urinary catheters should be changed ensures patients receive the best care possible.

Foley catheters, for instance, can stay longer than other types. They can be changed every 4–12 weeks, depending on the patient’s condition and doctor’s recommendation.

Intermittent catheters, which are the most commonly used catheters, have the shortest change frequency. Most intermittent catheters are reusable but require thorough cleaning and proper storage between uses to reduce the risk of infection.

On the other hand, external catheters are not placed inside the urinary tract but over the penis (in men) or pubic area (in women). Although the risk of UTI is low, external catheters need to be changed every day. This helps to prevent skin irritation.

How Often Do You Change a Urinary Catheter Bag?

Catheters come with bags for holding the drained urine, and these bags also need to be changed. The frequency of these changes depends on the type of catheter and, to some extent, your urine output. Indwelling catheter bags should be emptied once a day or whenever they get half to three-quarters full. With intermittent catheters, the catheter bag should be changed when you remove the catheter.

Looking for High-Quality Catheters?

Northside Medical Supply is the premier provider of all types of urinary drainage bags and catheters in Roswell. Contact us today to find the ideal product for you.

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