What To Expect After Removing Catheter

A device commonly used to empty a patient’s bladder before or after surgery, a urinary catheter can remain in a person’s body for any length of time. When removing catheter, a patient should seek help from their health care professional.

Urinary catheters help empty a patient’s bladder before or after surgery. For long-term health solutions, the health care professional might recommend a Foley catheter. 

In general, people do not remove their own Foley catheters, especially if used for surgery. A patient should never attempt to remove a Foley catheter without a health care professional, as they could damage their urethra. Patients requiring long-term solutions need education from their health care team before attempting to remove a Foley catheter.

What is urinary catheterization, and how does it work?

Urinary catheterization works by draining the bladder and collecting the urine using a flexible tube. Health care professionals insert the tube through a small incision in the lower stomach or the urethra. In most cases, the urinary catheter remains in the bladder so urine can drain into a collection bag.

Types of catheters

Several varieties of urinary catheters are available on the market. Your doctor will work with you to find the best urinary catheter for your health and comfort. Urinary catheters get manufactured from several materials, including silicone and latex.

Removing catheter: Intermittent catheters 

If you only need a catheter for a brief period, such as after a surgery, your doctor will recommend an intermittent catheter. Many individuals who are bedridden utilize intermittent catheters. 

Connected to a drainage bag, the intermittent catheter has to be inserted and removed several times a day.

Removing catheter: Foley catheters

Normally placed through the urethra, an indwelling or Foley catheter remains enclosed within the bladder. internal urinary catheter enclosed within the bladder is known as an indwelling or Foley catheter. Foley catheters are normally placed through the urethra into the bladder. A tiny, water-filled balloon located at the end of indwelling catheters and filled with water after the catheter is inserted to keep the catheter in place. When the catheter needs to be withdrawn, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is gently pulled out.

Removing catheter: intermittent catheter

Most patients can remove their intermittent catheters at home, but it’s important to understand the removal process to prevent injury or infection. 

Steps to follow for removing catheter

  • Wash your hands and gather all supplies. 
  • Locate the catheter’s balloon port at the tip, the colored valve with many numbers printed on it (the number printed beside the valve sometimes indicates how many cc are in the balloon). 
  • Take a sterile 10ml syringe and connect it to the colored valve. 
  • Slowly pull the syringe to allow all the water to drain from the balloon located at the tip of the catheter. 
  • Disconnect the syringe from the valve if the balloon is not visible.
  • Restart the process.
  • Verify the water has drained from the tip of the catheter. 
  • Wait for all of the water to drain.
  • When it comes to a halt, the balloon inside your bladder has deflated. 
  • Gently remove the catheter. 
  • Remove the tubing and the collection bag.

Tips for removing catheter

Lubricating the catheter helps alleviate discomfort. Remove the catheter while in the shower with warm water. Remain seated to avoid falling or injuring yourself.

Urinary problems following catheter removal

Upon removal, a patient’s bladder and urethra may be weak for up to two days. Therefore, your physician may advise you to urinate without pushing or exerting any effort. Allow your urine to pass naturally, and don’t force yourself to go to the bathroom.  You should also limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine in case of urine leakage.

Burning or soreness when urinating

Also called catheter-related bladder discomfort, this irritation causes involuntary contractions of the bladder’s smooth muscles. The contractions create a sensation of burning or soreness.

Possibility of having dysuria

Dysuria refers to the feeling of pain when passing urine, usually a stinging or burning feeling . This symptom may last for several days. Patients should drink two to three liters of fluids per day to dilute their urine.  

Urination urgency and frequency 

Urination urgency and frequency can appear immediately following catheter removal. Patients must have access to the toilet or be provided with appropriate tools, such as a urinal. 

Symptoms typically resolve within a few days. Contact your health care provider if the symptoms persist longer. Patients should also drink plenty of fluids, as concentrated urine can irritate the bladder.

Possibility of Hematuria

A common condition, hematuria refers to blood being present in the urine after catheter removal. Patients should consult a doctor for a more thorough assessment.

Likelihood of incontinence 

Patients may experience urinary incontinence immediately after catheter removal. If the catheter has been in place for a long time, patients may need temporary management measures, such as absorbent pads to stay dry. If the signs and symptoms persist, contact your healthcare provider.

Things to keep in mind for removing catheter

If your health care professional recommends the use of a Foley catheter, do not attempt to remove the catheter without first receiving proper education and training on how to handle the device.

Before attempting to remove the catheter, ask your health care practitioner any questions you may have.  Urination frequency after catheter removal should be recorded. Health care providers call this your voided output. 

Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. After removing the catheter, you also need to urinate every 2 hours for the first 8 hours of the procedure to keep your bladder empty.

Do you need more information about removing catheter?

If you have any questions about catheter removal or what to expect afterward, please contact the professionals at Better Health. To help you with your challenges, we provide free consultations and peer coaching. Visit https://joinbetter.com/or call 415-475-8444 to learn more. 

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