Using a catheter comes with a learning curve. Initially, using a catheter can be tricky and it will take some time to get used to, but eventually, you’ll learn how to manage and live with one. However, certain tricks can help with the process and prevent some of the problems that come with catheter use, such as catheter UTIs.
At Ideal UroShield, we have extensive knowledge of ways to deal with catheter-associated UTIs (CAUTIs) and other catheter-related issues. In this post, we explain our top ten tips for living with a catheter, so you can live with a significantly decreased risk of contracting a UTI.
Top ten tips for living with a catheter
- Drink plenty of water
Studies from October 2018 linked drinking lots of water to reduced chances of infections, due to the urinary tract being washed out regularly. The NHS recommends that you drink enough water to keep your urine pale but not colourless, and this is usually around 1.5-2 litres of water per day.
- Tape the catheter to your leg
One of the most significant problems with catheters can be the tube detaching itself from the bag, either because of the bag becoming full or due to excessive movement. Taping the tube to your leg reduces the range of movement it can go through and prevents the tube from coming out. Consider using sport tape as it’s a skin-friendly option.
- Take spare equipment when you go out
Make sure that you always have a spare catheter and leg bag, just in case. Having your catheter suddenly break can completely disrupt your plans for the day, especially if you’re caught unprepared.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
When you start using a catheter, it’s a good idea to ask other catheter users for advice and their experience. Ask them questions such as what to expect, or ask if they can share any tricks that they’ve learned while living with one. People who already have catheters are one of the best sources of information you will find. Of course, you should also discuss this with your doctor too.
- Learn what blockages feel like
Blockages in the catheter will typically cause bladder spasms, and over time you will learn to recognise the feeling. Some people report feeling pressure in the bladder, while others only realise they’ve had a blockage when they experience the symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia. It’s crucial that you learn to recognise catheter blockages because they can cause the urine to flow back to the kidneys, which can lead to severe bloodstream and kidney infections.
- Clean the catheter and bag regularly
Catheter users have a high risk of infection, to the point that a catheter user is almost statistically guaranteed to get a catheter-associated UTI within a month of catheterisation. Cleaning the bag and catheter tube regularly with warm soapy water can significantly reduce the risk, although it can’t eliminate it completely.
- Learn what healthy urine looks like
Your urine can contain the warning signs of a urinary tract infection, so it’s essential that you know what healthy urine looks like. Remember that if you’re on medication, the colour of your urine can change. Should your urine smell bad or contain large blood clots, call your doctor immediately as it is indicative of a UTI.
- Stick with small catheters
You want to choose the smallest catheter possible, because larger gauge ones tend to cause more bladder spasms. Discuss the different sizes of catheters with your doctor before making a decision.
- Pay attention to how often you pass urine
Another good way to tell if you have a catheter blockage or kink is if you’re simply not passing urine. Ensure you know if you’ve passed urine during the day, and keep an eye out for extended dry periods.
- Learn to recognise infections
UTIs are dangerous if left untreated for a while, so learning to recognise the symptoms will make your life easier in the long run. If it burns when you pass urine, or you’re feeling continually tired or shaky, you should contact your doctor straight away.
Make your life easier with UroShield
Many of the problems with catheters come from the infections that they often cause. However, CAUTIs don’t have to be such a large part of your life. UroShield uses low-frequency ultrasonic Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) to gently vibrate the surface of the catheter, preventing biofilms from forming and significantly reducing the risk of infection. Most importantly, it’s compact and discreet, meaning you can easily integrate it into your daily life and carry on with your normal activities.
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