How to Cope With a Catheter

If you have had a surgery and need to know how to cope with a catheter, it's important to realize that you can easily keep it clean and well maintained by following a few easy steps. Your catheter will help you drain fluid and infection from your body, and it will be secured to your body to stabilize it and to avoid accidental removal.


  1. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 1
    Avoid tugging at the catheter, and wear loose clothing that will not get caught on the catheter.
  2. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 2
    Drain your full bag or bulb as necessary. You will need to empty the bag or bulb contents on a regular basis.
    • Turn the bag or your bulb upside down.
    • Take the cap off the bag.
    • Pour the contents of your bag or bulb into your toilet, and take care so that no part of your bag or tubing actually touches the toilet or the water. This can introduce contaminants.
    • Put the cap back on the bag.
    • Adhere the bag back to its original location.
  3. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 3
    Keep your dressing dry.
    • Don't immerse your catheter or any of the dressing in the deep water of a bath.
    • Cover your dressing with plastic wrap if you plan to shower with it.
    • Remove any wet dressing as soon as possible and replace it with new dressing, leaving your catheter device alone.
  4. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 4
    Change your catheter dressing as needed for cleanliness.
  5. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 5
    Refrain from flushing your catheter unless your doctor instructs you to.
  6. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 6
    Clean the skin and remove slight secretion accumulation around your catheter site by using a cotton swab or a gauze pad that has hydrogen peroxide on it.
  7. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 7
    Watch for warning signs, and make sure to take precautions with your catheter and bag or bulb.
    • Assess yourself for any distress. A high fever could be a sign of a backup in the line or infection, and you should contact your physician if you have any fears about your catheter.
    • Avoid any kinks in your line.
    • Make sure there are no leaks in your catheter tube.
    • Look for irritation, swelling or skin that is red or tender at your insertion site.
    • Ensure that your drainage bag doesn't get too full, resulting in dragging or pulling on your catheter.
    • Sharp pain, nausea, vomiting and chills are warning signs as well.
  8. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 8
    Learn proper cleaning technique for catheters in place for the long-term.
    • Carefully wash around your drainage tube with soap and water.
    • Rinse the catheter site well, and then dry it with a clean towel.
    • Powders and lotions should not be used around the site where your catheter has been inserted.
  9. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 9
    Avoid sexual intercourse if you have an indwelling catheter.
  10. Image titled Cope With a Catheter Step 10
    Measure any output that comes out of your catheter as directed by your physician.


  • Always wash your hands when dealing with your catheter.

Article Info

Categories: Conditions and Treatments | Medication and Medical Equipment