Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Catheter Care

If you have an enlarged prostate gland and an indwelling urinary catheter, it is important that you learn how to care for the device. Proper catheter care will lessen your chance for a urinary tract infection and urinary retention.

Basic Catheter Care

  • Wash your hands.
  • Gently wash the area where the catheter enters your body twice a day. Cleansing may be performed in the shower.
  • Dry the area gently.
  • Males should apply Bacitracin ointment to the area where the catheter enters the penis.
  • Do not take a tub baths while you have a catheter in place: this increases the risk for infection.

Use of the Leg Bag
Empty your leg bag when it is over halfway filled with urine.

To empty the bag:
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stand or sit near a toilet or sink.
  • Loosen the strap closest to your knee so that the bag hangs over the toilet or sink.
  • Push lever on the bottom of the bag out and down.
  • Drain the urine.
  • Close the lever.
  • Wash your hands.

Night Drainage Bags
Before you go to sleep, change your leg bag to a night bag. Once a day, wash out the leg bag with soap and water, and hang it up to dry. The night drainage bag is larger than the leg bag. It is designed to hang from a bed or chair, or it can be attached to loose-fitting pants. Urine drains into the bag by gravity: place the bag below the level of your bladder.

Using a night drainage bag:
  • Wash your hands.
  • Empty the leg bag.
  • Pinch the catheter with your fingers.
  • Disconnect the leg bag.
  • Clean the tip of the night bag with an alcohol swab, and then connect the night bag to the catheter.
  • Tape the catheter to your thigh so that the bag does not "pull" on the catheter when you lay down. Make sure there is some slack above the tape.
  • Wash your hands.
  • When you get into bed, arrange the tubing so that it does not kink or loop.
  • Hang the night bag on the side of your bed, or place it on the floor.
  • In the morning, wash your hands and empty the night bag into the toilet.
  • Clean the tip of the leg bag with an alcohol swab.
  • Pinch off the catheter, and re-connect the leg bag.
  • Wash out the night bag with soap and water, and hang it up to dry.

Bladder Spasms
You may feel bladder spasms while your catheter is in place. Bladder spasms may feel like a painful cramp or a sudden, strong urge to urinate. Call your doctor if bladder spasms become severe.

Care after Removal

Continue to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Taking Control

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia References
  1. Barry MJ, O'Leary MP: Advances in benign prostatic hyperplasia. The developmental and clinical utility of symptom scores. Urol Clin North Am 1995 May; 22(2): 299-307. [7539176]
  2. Comhaire F, Mahmoud A. Girman CJ, Jacobsen SJ, Guess HA, et al: Natural history of prostatism: relationship among symptoms, prostate volume and peak urinary flow rate. J Urol 1995 May; 153(5): 1510-5. [7536258]
  3. Milani S, Djavan B. Lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia: latest update on alpha-adrenoceptor antagonists. BJU Int. 2005 Jun;95 Suppl 4:29-36. [15871733]
  4. Preventing diseases of the prostate in the elderly using hormones and nutriceuticals. Aging Male. 2004 Jun;7(2):155-69. [15672940]
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