- Urethral trauma (damage that has been caused to the urethra - the tube where urine comes out)
- People who require long-term catheterisation and are sexually active
- After some gynaecological operations e.g. surgery for prolapsed uterus or bladder, or surgery for stress incontinence
- Long-term catheterisation for incontinence. Although this is not recommended, sometimes medical staff feel it appropriate to avoid skin problems or other medical complications.
- Some wheelchair users or people who can't self-catheterise find this method simpler to manage
- Free drainage - where the urine drains out from the catheter and is then generally stored in a drainage bag.
- Catheter valve - a valve at the end of the catheter used in place of a drainage bag. Urine is stored in the bladder and is emptied through the catheter straight into the toilet or bag.
There are several different types of drainage bag: leg bags held in place with straps or in a holster and worn under your normal clothes during the day, night drainage bags which are attached to a leg bag at night, a Belly Bag is also appropriate to use with a supra-pubic catheter. This bag is attached to the catheter and held in place round the waist. A night drainage bag is much larger and is attached to the leg bag to hold all the urine that drains from the bladder overnight.
The B&BF has a factsheet with further details of drainage bags.
- Urine stops draining out of the catheter
- You feel unwell with pain, fever and abdominal discomfort
- Urine is leaking around the catheter - this can be normal around a new catheter site
- The area around the catheter becomes red and sore
- Bleeding. It is not unusual to see blood in the urine following a change of catheter but this usually settles in 24 hours.
Occasionally the skin around the catheter over heals and small skin tags form. If they become problematic i.e. bleed easily and interfere with catheter changes, they can be treated by your healthcare professional.
Some healthcare professionals recommend turning the catheter when cleaning the area to help prevent the catheter sticking to the bladder wall.