How to Empty a Catheter Bag

Three Parts:Emptying the Catheter BagChoosing a Catheter Bag TypeCaring for the Catheter Bag

You may need to use a catheter at home if you are having difficulties urinating due to an illness, infection, or disease. You will need to empty the catheter bag to ensure you dispose of the urine properly. There are two types of catheter bags: large catheter bags and leg catheter bags. You should learn how to empty the bag, know which type of catheter bag you should use, and learn how to care for the catheter bag so it is sterile and clean.

Part 1
Emptying the Catheter Bag

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    Wash and dry your hands well. Use warm water and soap to clean your hands. Dry your hands once they are clean. Do this every time you are going to touch the catheter to prevent the spread of germs.[1]
    • You may also put on medical gloves, if you have access to them.
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    Raise the drainage tube straight up. The drainage tube is at the end of the catheter tube. It is connected to the catheter tube with a plastic colored clip.[2]
    • Make sure all the urine from the catheter tube drains into the catheter bag as you hold it straight. This will make it less messy when you empty it.
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    Position the bag over a toilet. This will make it easier to empty. Squeeze the plastic pieces on the drainage tube together gently until they come off the edge of the holder.[3]
    • Slowly slide the drainage tube out of the holder. Then, place the drainage tube over the toilet.
    • Point the drainage tube down into the toilet but do not let the tube touch the edges of the toilet.
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    Empty the catheter bag. Once the plastic clips have come off the edge of the holder, you should open the metal clamp that is on the catheter tube. Do this by pushing down on the bottom metal piece until it releases.[4]
    • Let the urine drain from the bag into the toilet. Once it has drained completely, you should close the metal clamp by pressing the metal pieces together. It should click shut as it closes.
    • You can then clip the drainage tube back into the holder and reuse the catheter, if it is a reusable catheter.

Part 2
Choosing a Catheter Bag Type

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    Use a large catheter bag if you will be lying down in bed. You will likely use a large catheter bag if you are not very mobile and have to lie down in bed often. This type of bag often hangs from a stand by your bed so it can emptied by a nurse or a caretaker.[5]
    • You may also use a large catheter bag overnight for when you sleep. This way, the urine can travel through the catheter and into the large catheter bag during the night.
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    Try a leg bag if you plan to be mobile. You will likely use a leg catheter bag if you are going to be up and about on your feet, walking around throughout the day. This bag is attached to the inside of your thigh, just above your knee, with elastic straps. You can then wear pants or a long skirt to over the catheter bag.[6]
    • Though leg catheter bags do not hold as much urine as large bags, they are ideal if you plan to move around a lot throughout the day and do not want to have to pull a catheter bag stand behind you.
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    Switch to a large catheter bag at night. If you tend to wear a leg bag throughout the day, your doctor may recommend that you switch to a large catheter bag at night so you do not have to worry about the catheter bag when you are sleeping. It is also better for your urinary tract if you use a large catheter bag overnight.[7]
    • You can switch to a large catheter bag by first washing your hands well and then raising the drainage tube so all the urine goes in the leg bag.
    • Then, take off the cap or clip on the leg bag and kink up the catheter tube by folding it over once. This will ensure no urine passes through the tube.
    • Carefully pull the end of your catheter from the leg bag. Connect the end of the catheter to the large catheter bag. Unkink the tube so the urine now flows into the large catheter bag.

Part 3
Caring for the Catheter Bag

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    Rinse out the catheter bag and hang it to dry. You should always rinse out the catheter bag before you reuse it. You should also rinse out the leg bag and let it dry if you are switching to a large catheter bag for the night.[8]
    • Do this by rinsing the bag out with one part vinegar and three parts water. Let the bag soak for 20 minutes and then rinse it out with warm water. Let it air dry by hanging it up in your bathroom.
    • You should clean the leg bag every day if you use it daily and replace it once a month.
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    Make sure the catheter tube is not twisted or blocked. You should check that the catheter tubing is not twisted, looped, or blocked in any way. Make sure you hang the urine bag up on a stand so it lies vertical and straight. This will ensure the catheter bag works properly overnight and throughout the day.[9]
    • If you are wearing a leg bag, make sure it is placed below your bladder, at waist level, and the tube lines flat against your leg. You should make sure the leg bag is fastened to your thigh with medical tape, leaving a little slack in the catheter so there is not too much pressure on your bladder or urethra.
    • If you wear a leg catheter bag often, you should try to get in the habit of switching the bag from one leg to the other. You can do this right after you have a shower.
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    Do not pull or tug on the catheter bag. You should be careful not to pull or tug at the catheter bag, as this can dislodge the catheter and lead to poor drainage or leaking. You should check the catheter bag periodically to make sure it is draining properly.[10]
    • If you experience leakage from the catheter bag and cannot locate the issue, you should see your doctor. Sometimes, leakage can occur due to bladder spasms, a blockage, or a urinary issue.

Article Info

Categories: Urinary Health