If you are experiencing a medical emergency please dial 911 immediately
A urinary catheter is a flexible plastic tube used to drain urine from your bladder when you cannot urinate by yourself. A doctor will place the catheter into the bladder by inserting it through the urethra, the opening that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. When the catheter is in the bladder, a small balloon is inflated to keep the catheter in place. The catheter allows urine to drain from the bladder into a bag that is usually attached to the thigh. Indwelling urinary catheters can be used in both men and women.
A catheter may be needed because of certain medical conditions, such as an enlarged prostate, the inability to control the release of urine, or after surgery on the pelvis or urinary tract. Urinary catheters are also used when the lower part of the body is paralyzed.
Always wash your hands before and after handling your catheter. Follow all of the instructions your doctor has given you. Also:
You will need to empty the bag regularly, whenever it is half full, and at bedtime. If your doctor has instructed you to measure the amount of urine, do so before you empty the urine into the toilet.
If your doctor has given you instructions about when to notify him or her, be sure to follow those instructions. Call your doctor if:
After your catheter is taken out:
Also, it is important to know when you are having a problem and when to call your doctor. After catheter removal, call your doctor if:
|National Institute on Aging|
|Building 31, Room 5C27|
|31 Center Drive, MSC 2292|
|Bethesda, MD 20892|
The National Institute on Aging (NIA), one of the centers of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. The NIA funds research and provides information about health and research advances to the public and interested groups.
|National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse|
|3 Information Way|
|Bethesda, MD 20892-3580|
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with these problems and to their families, to health professionals, and to the public. NKUDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient groups and government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.
NKUDIC, a federal agency, is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
|Urology Care Foundation: The Official Foundation of the American Urological Association|
|1000 Corporate Boulevard|
|Linthicum, MD 21090|
UrologyHealth.org is a website written by urologists for patients. Visitors can find specific topics by using the "search" option.
The website provides information about adult and pediatric urologic topics, including kidney, bladder, and prostate conditions. You can find a urologist, sign up for a free quarterly newsletter, or click on the Urology A–Z page to find information about urologic problems.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||J. Curtis Nickel, MD, FRCSC - Urology|
|Last Revised||March 5, 2012|
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