2020-11-13 14:54:30

Those who have just undergone a medical operation are sometimes tasked with going home with a catheter after surgery. A catheter is a device used to assist people in dealing with overall urinary incontinence and retention.

A hospital or healthcare facility's sterile conditions will always be the best place to learn how the catheter is inserted. Many patients that have just gone through surgery will require a catheter after surgery, and a lot of them will leave the hospital with a urinary foley.

The first reaction that many patients have is that of confusion and frustration. Over time, the catheter will become a habitual part of life. There are several things to know about going home with a catheter after surgery.

Dynamics Of A Urinary Catheter

A urinary catheter comes in the shape of a fairly thin tube inserted into the bladder. To get the catheter to the bladder, it’ll go through the urethra or sometimes through a tiny opening in the abdomen. The main purpose of a catheter is to pass urine through the tube and then to the toilet or a urine collection bag.

What Is The Bladder?

Everyone's body contains the bladder. It is a hollow organ that holds urine. When the bladder is full and isn’t emptied, this can cause pressure against the kidneys, leading to further health complications such as kidney failure.

For many people who are going home with a catheter after surgery, they typically only need to use the catheter until they can urinate normally again. For those dealing with ongoing health issues such as a lifelong injury, a catheter might need to be in place for a longer time.

Why Is A Catheter Required After A Surgical Procedure?

There several reasons why people might need a catheter after going through a surgical procedure:

  • Damage to the urethra

  • Enlarged prostate

  • Nerve damage

  • Urethral blockage

  • A weakness of the bladder

Surgeries in the genital area typically require a catheter afterward. A prostatectomy is a good example of this. For those diagnosed with prostate cancer, a prostatectomy is a removal or partial removal of the prostatic gland. A catheter will need to be in place for around five days after this type of procedure. On rare occasions, complications may occur, which will require a catheter to be in place for a longer period of time.

Urinary incontinence will be stopped with a catheter after surgery in the genital areas. The duration of catheter treatment will depend on a number of things:

  • The type of surgery

  • The overall time of recovery

  • If any complications exist

What Are The Different Types Of Catheters?

There are many different types of catheters for different purposes. If you currently have a catheter and aren’t completely satisfied with it, consult your healthcare provider, and ask if any other types can be more beneficial for you.

Straight Catheter

The straight catheter is a catheter that’s typically used prior to or after surgery and is commonly used in childbirth as well. Straight catheters are also referred to as intermittent catheters and are disposable, and they should only be used on a short-term basis. Like other catheters, they are inserted into the urethra. After the bladder has been drained, the straight catheter can be disposed of.

The straight catheter has a number of distinguishable characteristics:

  • Straight in design

  • Small holes will be on the insertion tip so that urine can flow easily into the toilet or drain bag

Coude Catheter

A distinguishable characteristic of the coude catheter is that it has a curved tip. For those that have trouble with the straight catheters, the coude catheter is another option. These are used in case men of an enlarged prostate or urethral stricture. Like straight catheters, coude catheters are mainly single-use catheters.

Foley Catheter

The foley catheter is characterized by a flexible and hollow tubing that will give urine a chance to drain on a continual basis. Like other catheters, it’s inserted into the urethra until it hits the bladder. The balloon will then be inflated, and the objective is to keep the tubing set in place.

On the other end of the foley catheter is a drain bag. After the Foley catheter is inserted, urine can drain through the tube and into the bag. A foley catheter is designed to be left on for a longer-term duration than a coude or straight catheter.

Suprapubic Catheter

If any urethral damage has been caused, a suprapubic catheter is used. A patient can also prefer to use a suprapubic catheter if they decide not to use a urethral catheter.

The suprapubic catheter contains a fairly flexible tube that is inserted in the bladder through the abdomen. It is typically inserted a couple of inches under the navel. This type of catheter is always inserted by a healthcare professional.

Condom Catheter

A Condom catheter is an option that many men choose if they don’t want an invasive type of catheter. Condom catheters are commonly referred to as Texas catheters or just external catheters. Condom catheters are basically just a flexible sheath cupped over the penis, much in the same way that a regular condom is.

  • If one cannot make it to the toilet due to mobility issues

  • If one isn’t able to control their urinary urges

  • Damage to the sphincter

How Do You Take Care Of Your Catheter?

When you’re going home with a catheter after surgery, a healthcare professional will typically go over all of the instructions on using the catheter while you’re at home.

If you’re leaving the hospital with an intermittent catheter, they will let you know that they are only to be used one time. Many people will opt to disregard that advice and continue cleaning the catheter to reuse, but doing this can cause infections and further issues to the urethra. Unless you’ve been advised that you can reuse an intermittent catheter, they should be disposed of after each use.

For those with a suprapubic catheter, a drainage bag after surgery will typically be required to collect urine. The drain bag will be fastened to the leg with secure medical tape, but a device called a Bard Spatlock is also sometimes used.

To empty the drain bag after surgery, all you need to do is take off the cap and then allow the urine in the bag to flow into the toilet. It’s advised not to allow the drainage port to touch the toilet to prevent further infection.

Many individuals might notice that their bladder is a lot more sensitive than usual. To avoid this sensitivity, patients can reduce types of foods or drinks that can lead to sensitivity. Some of these are:

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Alcoholic drinks

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Lemon juice

  • Spicy types of foods

How Do You Keep Your Catheter Clean?

It’s advised not to try changing or removing it yourself for those with a suprapubic or foley catheter. These types of catheters should only be adjusted by healthcare professionals.

Keeping the area around a catheter clean is essential to ensuring that everything goes smoothly. Keep a keen lookout for any infection around the urethral opening on a daily basis, and if you do begin to notice any swelling, pain, or redness, contact your healthcare professional.

Keeping Clean For Males:

  • Always keep your hands clean.

  • If you’re uncircumcised, then lift back the foreskin on the penis.

  • Gather some soapy water and a clean cloth and start wiping around the urethral opening.

  • Wipe in a downward motion so that bacteria won’t have a chance of getting in the urethra.

  • Hold the catheter with one hand and with the other, give it a good wipe in a downward motion with the cloth.

  • Rinse off any soap from the genitals, and make sure that no soapy residue is left.

  • Pat dry the surrounding area with a clean and dry towel.

Keeping Clean For Females:

  • Always keep your hands clean.

  • Slide open the labia with one hand and locate where the urethral opening is.

  • Use clean and soapy water and a clean washcloth wipe around the urethra.

  • Wipe in a downward, away motion to prevent any bacteria from getting in the urethra.

  • Give the catheter a good wash, wiping in a downward motion.

  • Clean off any residual soap in the area.

  • Dry off the surrounding area with a clean towel.

What About Using A Catheter At Night?

For those with a suprapubic catheter, you won’t have to worry about changing it throughout the night. The urine drain bag will still have to be changed on a regular basis.

Types Of Urine Drain Bags

Leg bag: A leg bag is securely fastened to the thigh area, and it can be used throughout the day. Whenever the leg bag starts getting full, it should be emptied. Every two to four hours is typically the best range of time to empty it.

Night bag: The night bag has a bigger capacity, and it can be connected to the catheter at the end of the day before going to sleep. A healthcare professional might suggest using a night bag for the daytime periods for people who spend a large chunk of their day in a seated or lying down position.

How Can You Change A Leg Bag To A Night Bag?

There are a couple of steps:

  • Always keep your hands clean before handling the drain bags.

  • Take a cotton ball and then saturate it in rubbing alcohol.

  • Give the tip of the drainage bag a good clean with the cotton ball.

  • To stop any leaks from occurring, give the tube of the catheter a pinch before you go about disconnecting the leg bag from it.

  • Disconnect the leg bag and then connect the night drainage bag to the tubing of the catheter.

  • Give the leg bag a thorough clean with soap and water.

  • Hang it to dry.

What Are The Risks Of Using A Catheter?

Like many things, using a catheter also comes with a risk, but in most cases, the majority of people don’t have any issues. Some common issues of using catheters are urinary tract infections, bladder spasms, and blood being spotted in the urine.

If you have any of the issues, then contact your healthcare professional:

  • Urine leaking at the perimeter of the catheter.

  • Urine is not draining properly through the catheter.

  • Urine that smells foul or looks cloudy.

  • Blood is noticed in the urine.

  • You start getting a fever or experience any pain in the abdomen.

  • Redness and irritation are noticed around the skin near the catheter.

Catheters come in all shapes and sizes, and finding one that works for you will ensure that your experience with it will be a positive one, void of any issues or complications.