You have an indwelling catheter (tube) in your bladder. This means the tube is inside your body. This catheter drains urine from your bladder into a bag outside your body.
Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your catheter.
How do I take care of the skin around the catheter? How often should I clean the area?
How much water or liquid should I be drinking?
Can I take a shower? How about a bath?
Can I walk around or exercise with the catheter in place?
What supplies do I need to keep in my home to care for my catheter? Where can I get them? How much do they cost?
How often do I need to empty the urine bag? How do I do that? Do I need to wear gloves?
How often do I need to clean the urine bag or catheter? How do I do that?
What do I do if there is blood in my urine? If my urine is cloudy? If my urine has an odor?
If I use a leg bag, how often do I need to change it? How do I empty it when I am in a public bathroom?
Should I switch to a larger bag for nighttime? How do I change this kind of bag?
What do I do if the catheter comes out or off?
What do I do if the catheter stops draining?
What are the signs that I have an infection?
What to ask your doctor about urinary catheters
Goode PS, Gurgio KL, Richter HE, Markland AD. Incontinence in older women. JAMA. 2010;303:2172-2181.
Payne CK. Conservative management of urinary incontinence: behavioral and pelvic floor therapy, urethral and pelvic devices. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 69.
Shamliyan TA, Kane RL, Wyman J, Wilt TJ. Systematic review: randomized, controlled trials of nonsurgical treatments for urinary incontinence in women. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148:459-473.
Shamilyan TA, Wyman JF, Ping R, Wilt TJ, Kane RL. Male urinary incontinence: Prevalence, risk factors, and preventive interventions. Rev Urol. 2009;11:145-165.
- Indwelling catheter care
- Prostate resection - minimally invasive - discharge
- Radical prostatectomy - discharge
- Self catheterization - female
- Self catheterization - male
- Suprapubic catheter care
- Transurethral resection of the prostate - discharge
- Urinary incontinence surgery - female - discharge
- Urine drainage bags
- When you have urinary incontinence
Update Date 9/29/2014
Updated by: Scott Miller, MD, urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.