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How Often to Change Catheter Bags?

If you have frequent problems to urinate, your doctor may suggest you undergo a catheterization. This is a procedure through which patients are prevented from having infections and/or organ damage (mainly kidneys) when a bladder cannot be emptied naturally. It allows patients to discharge their bladder content, or urine, using a catheter. 

A catheter is a narrow, flexible, elongated tube device that can be surgically placed into the male or female bladder and is used to direct and gather urine into a container, which in turn is fastened to a patients´ leg. Depending upon your medical condition your catheterization may be temporal or permanent. There are many questions regarding these issues and one of them is, how often to change catheter bags

  • What is a catheter bag? 

A catheter bag is a container used to collect urine from a patient who had a catheterization. When living with a catheter and a catheter bag, it is very important to keep very high hygiene standards in order to prevent developing further health problems. For instance, bacteria entering the bladder from the catheter can lead to a very serious medical condition known as Urinary Tract Infection or UTI. 

  • How often to change a catheter bag? 

Catheter bags can be used for short or long periods of time depending on individual situations. Thus, it is vital to ask your nurse or medical practitioner what is the most convenient action in your case. 

The first thing to highlight is that changing catheter bags will depend upon the kind of appliance you are using since they have different discharge time. There are different units such as: 

  • Drainable catheter bags: These bags can last longer and are usually changed every five to seven days. Wear time is reduced when they are not in good conditions, broken or damaged. 
  • Non-drainable catheter bags: These appliances need to be changed whenever their content has to be discarded, meaning they can be used only one time. Many health practitioners recommend using this kind of bags.

There many types of shapes and capacities of catheter bags. The volume of the bag will also influence the number of times they need changing. Bags can be of various sizes which could carry volumes as large as two liters and they can be used depending upon the occasion. For instance, if you are considering a large trip or desperately need a longer night´s sleep, larger catheter bag capacities can be utilized. On the contrary, for a night´s out, a distinct, smaller size unit, which needs, however, more frequent changing, is usually recommended. 

Remember to wash your hands before and after handling your catheter bag and clean the bladder discharge area carefully. 

Changing your catheter bag should be pain-free and not lead to any constraints in your social life, sporting or daily activities. When you are living with a catheterization, you only need a little adjustment and care to enjoy an active life!