Catheter Care - Living with a catheter

16 July 2013
Q16. Can I have a bath with my catheter in me or are showers better?
A16. You can have either but make sure you keep the catheter drainage system closed. The drainage bag is best emptied prior to bathing/showering and the straps or bag support removed, but make sure you support your catheter so that is does not drag on your bladder neck. There are catheter fixation devices that hold the catheter in place, if this is the adhesive type it may be left on in the water. If it is the strap type then if left on make sure you have a dry one to change it to when you have dried yourself. The drainage bag can go in the shower/bath as you can pat it dry on a towel. (Community bags have a fabric backing but this does not take long to dry out.) Some people like to use a catheter valve and this ideal as there is no bag to worry about but this is not always possible. Note: It is not ideal to use talc or creams around the catheter area as this may affect the catheter material.
Q17. Do I have to clean the catheter as I notice it gets a bit sticky where it goes inside me?
A17. The area around where your catheter goes into your body needs cleaning on a daily basis and should be done gently with soap and water. It is best to keep a separate wash cloth for this or use disposable ones.
Q18. Do I have to wash around my catheter if I open my bowels or have diarrhoea?
A18.This is up to you as it is not always convenient to do this. However wet wipes are handy to keep with you! If you have diarrhoea then I would recommend you do clean around the area. Ladies must take care to clean from front to back so that you do not bring any ‘bugs’ from the back, as this may possibly cause a urinary tract infection. Always wash your hands before and after any catheter care and seek advice from your nurse or GP if the diarrhoea persists and replace your lost fluids by drinking more water. 
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