A common concern with catheter usage is the impact that it will have on your daily life. Simply going through your day as you used to before needing a catheter is the goal for many, but a catheter may hinder that objective. For many people, it isn’t always the catheter itself that many people struggle with, but the drainage bag used to collect the urine. To be able to overcome this obstacle, you need to know everything you can about drainage bags.
In this post, Ideal Medical explains everything you need to know about drainage bags including the different types of drainage bags, clothing and activities with drainage bags and how to maintain catheter hygiene.
The different types of catheter drainage bags
The first thing to know is that there are two different types of drainage bags, one for daytime use and one for nighttime use.
Leg bag – A leg bag is the drainage bag that you will be using during the day and the one with the most significant effect on your activities. It is so named because it must be strapped to your thigh or lower leg for urine to flow into it. Keep in mind that with a leg bag, it is advised to not raise your leg above bladder height.
Night bag – A night bag is a larger bag that is attached to the catheter at night, again below the level of your bladder. Night bags do not need to be attached to your body and usually hang below your bed to prevent them from interfering with your sleep. The night bag is also suitable for those who are permanently in bed.
Despite being smaller, the need for leg bags to be attached to the body all day means you will need to plan your day and outfit around the bag.
Clothing with drainage bags
One of the biggest issues is keeping the leg bag hidden. It is relatively large, and research shows it causes many of those who need one to feel quite self-conscious about their appearance. Also, for those who want to keep their leg bag hidden, some clothes cannot be worn, like shorts or skinny jeans.
With a bit of planning, it’s not as hard as you might think to hide the bag. As long as it is below the bladder, it can be anywhere on your leg, and having it attached to your thigh area can make it a lot easier to hide. Certain clothing is ideal for hiding the bag compared to others – apparel like long dresses and loose-fitting trousers can easily camouflage the bag. Remember that comfort is another factor. Consider avoiding clothing that fits too snugly around the bag, as it may become uncomfortable throughout the day.
Activities with drainage bags
A leg bag does not usually interfere with many daily activities. In fact, most can be done as usual. However, there are a few things to consider when going about your business.
- Are you going to be away from a toilet for an extended period of time? If so, plan your day and the best times to use the toilet. Empty your leg bag before you go out and avoid drinking fluids a few hours before you leave to lower the risk of needing a restroom when one isn’t accessible. Consider taking an extra bag, as a precautionary measure.
- Will the activity involve high-energy or explosive movement? If so, make sure the bag is empty before you begin to minimise the risk of the catheter being pulled out by the weight of the bag.
- Do you know how to empty the leg bag in public toilets? It may sound obvious, but not being able to drain the collection bag can ruin your evening, so make sure you know what to do when you go to the toilet.
Hygiene with drainage bags
As expected, a bag full of urine needs to be cleaned regularly to lower the risk of infection. It is much harder to treat a CAUTI than it is to prevent one, so taking some simple steps can make a world of difference. Your healthcare provider or doctor should teach you the correct method for cleaning the catheter and leg bag.
When cleaning the bag, you need to be as thorough as possible. To effectively clean the bag, fill it with warm soapy water and then drain it. After that, fill the bag with a mixture of water and vinegar (two parts white vinegar to three parts water), shake, then leave the bag for at least 30 minutes before draining it.
A more effective way of staying healthy with a catheter
It’s paramount to keep yourself infection-free, which is why UroShield is so essential. This device uses low-frequency ultrasonic Surface Acoustic Waves (SAWs) to prevent bacteria from sticking to the surface of the catheter, greatly lowering the possibility of infection.
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