If you need to use a urinary catheter, or if you care for someone who does, you may be aware of the unfortunate fact that catheter users are at greater risk for urinary tract infections. UTIs caused by catheter use can be more difficult for doctors to treat than other UTIs. The good news is that the danger of UTIs can be greatly reduced by following certain guidelines regarding catheter use.
Learn about catheters from an expert
For those who have never used urinary catheters before, or whose use of catheters has resulted in UTIs, it’s a good idea to consult professionals and master the best way to use them. Catheters, when inserted incorrectly, are likely to lead to infection. Seeking instruction on the best catheterization practices, then carefully following those practices, is strongly advised. In addition to consulting medical professionals on your next visit, it’s a good idea to look for instructional books and videos on catheter administration.
Keep the catheter sterile at all costs
Some catheter kits include tools to assist their users every step of the way to make sure that when the urinary catheter enters the body, its sterility has been preserved. The kits include cleansing wipes, plastic gloves, and other items to keep the wearer safe.
Use each catheter only once
Urinary catheters should be employed a single time, and then discarded. Some users will try to sterilize catheters on their own, and then reuse them. You should never do this, as this practice has been proven by scientists to result in a much greater number of urinary tract infections.
Favor closed system catheter kits
Closed system kits will often come with urinary catheters with special insertion tips. These tips are designed to bypass parts of the body with higher levels of bacteria. Catheters without insertion tips are more likely to introduce bacteria into the urethra, which, of course, can lead to UTIs.
Know how to proper care for drainage bags
It is important to always keep the drainage bag lower than the bladder of the person who is using a urinary catheter. If you do not do so, the urine that has already moved to the bag is in danger of going back into the bladder. It is also essential to empty the bag whenever it is full or whenever a maximum of 8 hours have passed.
Watch for signs of urinary tract infection
There are many indications that a UTI is present. These include blood in the urine, an abnormal urine color, or leaking urine around the catheter. More extreme symptoms include frequent urges to urinate, discomfort in your back or lower abdomen, fever, fatigue, chills, flank pain, vomiting, and even confusion or mental changes.
Urinary tract infections can create many serious health concerns. It is possible for these infections to spread to the kidneys, or to lead to kidney stones and bladder stones. If these infections are not properly treated, your kidneys could be damaged. Follow the rules outlined above to avoid the dangerous consequences of improper catheter use.
- License: Image author owned
Jessica Ludwig may need to use a urinary catheter so she decides to research some information about it.