A catheter user can still lead an active lifestyle with proper planning and knowledge.
If you are a patient who requires an indwelling or a suprapubic catheter to help with passing urine – regardless of whether you have had a catheter for an extended period or if this is a brand new experience for you – chances are you may still be conscious of every nuance and may begin to believe that the catheter has greatly limited your freedom.
As discussed previously in the posts titled “10 tips for living with a catheter” and “Going on holiday with a catheter”, it is possible for a catheter user to lead an active lifestyle. In this article, we look at ways which may help a catheter user when going out locally.
1. Practice good hygiene
As you already know, cleanliness is of the utmost importance and you want to limit bacteria from getting inside your bladder and causing infection. As you can’t safely gauge the cleanliness of the places you will visit, it is best to carry around a pocket-sized hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to help keep your hands and the area around the catheter clean. If infection is something that is bothering you, then it may be worth looking at a new and non-invasive device called UroShield which can help to lower the risk of catheter-related urinary tract infection. You can follow the respective links to find out how UroShield works and what clinical data are available to prove that it works.
2. De-tangle your drainage tube
With proper planning, a catheter user can often do a large number of activities they did before they became a catheter user – such as going for a walk or even going to a gym – but it must be said that care does need to be taken to avoid complication.
One of these complications is when there are kinks or tangles in the drainage tube. This can be unhygienic as it can end up causing urine that has already been passed to get trapped and possibly end up back in the bladder, leading to catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). Whether it’s through being physically active or being seated for a long time, make sure to remain aware of your drainage tube and ensure that there is nothing stopping urine from passing through into the drainage bag.
3. Use a larger drainage bag
When you are out of the house for a few hours, avoid having to worry over draining your catheter bag. Instead, consider getting a larger bag for such occasions. This will not only reduce the number of times you need to empty your bag, but you may find that you don’t need to empty it until you get back home.
4. Get familiar with the location of the toilets in a facility
If you are going to the cinema, theatre, out for dinner or even to the pub, make sure to familiarise yourself with where the closest toilets to you are located. It can also be a good idea to make sure that the toilets are accessible and aren’t out of order beforehand so that you can create a contingency plan in the event of a catheter-related emergency.
5. Don’t let your catheter get in the way of life
A few years ago, the BBC reported that there are at least 90,000 people with long-term urinary catheters in the UK. By now, that number would likely have increased. Given the size of the group, it is relatively easy to find and seek support from other catheter users who may experience the same issues as you. If you’re feeling a bit down or depressed about having to live with a catheter and you don’t want to share this feeling with other catheter users, then talk to your GP or your district nurse.
6. Get fibrous meals
While this applies to when you are at home, the fact is, we are more likely to be a bit more indulgent when we eat out. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep track of how much fibre you are getting in your diet. Fibre is key in avoiding constipation – a known gateway for catheter-associated urinary tract infections or CAUTIs. Foods rich in fibre include breakfast staples like oats, wheat bran and wholegrain cereals. Also, beans and lentils are high in fibre so ordering a bean burger or a lentil curry may be beneficial in more ways than just getting your ‘five a day’.
7. Keep hydrated
Hydration is key when it comes to bladder management and avoiding infections. The Cystitis & Overactive Bladder Foundation recommends drinking 2 to 2.5 litres of water a day. On the surface, this may sound contradictory as many people believe that reducing the intake of water can lower the chances to urinate – but drinking less water means that the urine produced is more concentrated, which can irritate your bladder lining and make you wish to go to the toilet more often. Also, keeping yourself hydrated may help prevent CAUTIs.
8. Use an indwelling catheter
If you are using an intermittent catheter and find that it limits your freedom to go out and about, talk to your GP and ask if an indwelling catheter is right for you. An indwelling catheter is a semi-permanent solution and can last for 10 weeks on the average before needing to be replaced.
9. Know who to call
Usually caused by a blockage, leakage is an issue shared by many indwelling catheter users. When you notice a leak, check and remove any kinks in the catheter or the drainage bag. However, if you are out and about and the leak is caused by you having bladder spasms, then have the number of your GP on hand so you can give them a call and get the right advice.
10. Know the signs of an infection
As being outside can expose you and your catheter to unfamiliar elements and less hygienic surfaces, it’s important to learn how to spot symptoms of a possible infection. Those who use long-term catheters – such as indwelling catheters – are said to be upwards of six and a half more times more likely to develop urinary tract infections. Some of the main symptoms of an infection can include pain in the area around the catheter, fever-like symptoms and cloudy urine. However, you may also experience muscle aches, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
While learning how to spot infection is useful, prevention is often better. As mentioned in one of the opening paragraphs above, UroShield is a new and non-intrusive device which can help to lower the risk of contracting a catheter-related urinary tract infection or CAUTI, so let us briefly explain what UroSheild is in the next paragraph.
UroShield keeps catheter infections at bay
Bacteria colonies on the surface of catheters are the primary drivers in increased risk of infection for long-term catheter users. UroShield helps put a stop to these colonies before they can form. The device uses low-frequency ultrasonic Surface Acoustic Waves (SAWs) to stop bacteria from forming on urethral catheters, such as indwelling catheters, and can even help people who have bladder spasms or catheter pain.
Easy-to-use, painless and discreet, UroShield is the perfect accompaniment to indwelling catheters.
To find out how UroShield can help to prevent CAUTIs, there is a wealth of information online available and some relevant ones include:
- Biofilms: an in-depth look
- How to deal with CAUTIs
- How does UroShield work
- UroShield is backed by science and data
For more on UroShield and how it can help you today, simply call 020 8773 7844 or get in touch via our Online Form.