An indwelling catheter (IDC) is a tube that is inserted into the bladder to drain urine. The catheter remains in place for a few weeks.
How do I use an indwelling catheter?
The catheter is inserted into the urethra and held in place by a balloon that is filled with water.
The catheter is then connected to a drainage bag (or leg bag) which collects the urine so that it can be disposed of at an appropriate time. IDCs are designed to stay in place for weeks. The amount of time needed between changes will vary for each person and should be discussed with your urology nurse.
The drainage bag and catheter should be attached somewhere (usually to your leg) to make sure that the catheter doesn’t get pulled or disconnected.
Complications that may occur
An IDC is an open path for bacteria to enter your bladder so make sure your hands are clean when touching the catheter or drainage bag.
It’s important to check your urine to look for signs of bleeding or other changes.
Keep an eye out for these issues:
Preventing infections with IDC
Drink plenty of water.
It’s important to not disconnect the drainage bag from the catheter until it’s due to be changed. This connection helps to minimise organisms from entering the bladder via the catheter.
You should also keep the bag below the level of your bladder at all times to make sure that the urine doesn’t flow back up into your bladder. The back flow of urine can carry bacteria into your bladder which might cause an infection.