How a Suprapubic Catheter Functions and why Proper Care is Essential

If you are a candidate for a suprapubic catheter, you’ll have many questions concerning how it works and the best manner in which to care for it. Improper care can result in suprapubic catheter malfunction, user infection, and serious complications and medical conditions. In order to understand how to care for your catheter, some knowledge of how it functions and why it is used will be helpful

Suprapubic Catheter Basics

If you have a medical condition that makes urinating difficult, then you may be prescribed a suprapubic catheter. A catheter is a tube that allows for the elimination of urine from your bladder. In essence, this sterile tube drains the waste fluid from your bladder. The device is inserted through an opening, known as a stoma, which has been created in your abdomen. The term “suprapubic” relates to the fact that the catheter is inserted above the pubic bone. This implement is held in the body via a small balloon that is filed with a solution.

The Drainage System

Although the drainage system for a catheter of this sort is fairly simple, it can be compromised. If this occurs, those with a suprapubic catheter can have various difficulties. Like your body’s drainage system, the suprapubic catheter’s is closed. The natural system in your body is always connected and free from leaks. This keeps it free from germs. Thus, in order to ensure the drainage system of your suprapubic catheter is germ-free, it should also always be connected properly.

There are two primary elements associated with this device’s drainage system: the suprapubic catheter and the drainage bag. The bag, which is attached to one end of the catheter, becomes filled with urine, which is transported from the tip of the catheter inside your bladder, through the tube to the drainage bag.

Dangers of Infection

Unfortunately for those who use catheters associated with the urinary function, infection is a common problem. Such infections, if not treated promptly and properly, can lead to serious illness and may result in death. The good news is that proper use and care can greatly reduce the incidence of such infections.

Infection occurs when the drainage system is opened or if the device is not properly cleaned. The most common reasons to open the system are to take a urine sample, drain the bag, or change the bag.

Safe and Sanitary Practices

Good hand washing practices can go a long way to preventing infection. Prior to handling any part of a suprapubic catheter, hands should always be washed in warm water with soap for two minutes and dried carefully. In addition, sterile medical gloves should be used when changing the drainage bag or maintaining your device. Anyone who comes in contact with your catheter should follow these practices.

Proper Care and Maintenance

In caring for your suprapubic catheter, there are various steps that you can take to ensure that your device continues to function properly and remains free from harmful bacteria, which can cause infection.


Proper Use

• Make sure your suprapubic catheter is replaced in a timely manner. This reduces the risk of infection.
• Keep the drainage system closed.
• If you have a problem with the device, contact your caregiver ASAP.
• Secure the tube firmly to your leg or side as this will help permit proper drainage.
• Follow sound hygiene practices, including properly sanitizing hands and wearing sterile medical gloves.
• To facilitate drainage utilize gravity
• Make sure that the tubing is not kinked or looped, as this will inhibit flow.
• The drainage bag should be positioned below your waist, as this will inhibit liquid waste from moving back up the tube and into your bladder.
• Never let your drainage bag touch or lie on the floor.

Cleaning Your Catheter

Here’s the step-by-step process for cleaning your suprapubic catheter. It’s important to empty the bag in a timely manner. Along with these instructions, be sure to read any specific instructions for use and cleaning that are included with your device.

• If the bag becomes too full, the weight of it can put strain on the stoma. It’s suggested that bags be emptied when they are 1/2 to 2/3 full or every four to six hours.
• Put a container on the floor next to you that is large enough to hold the amount of urine being removed or position the bag over your toilet.
• At the bottom of the urine bag, you’ll find the drain spout. Without touching the tip of the spout, remove the drain spout and open the drain’s valve.
• This will allow the liquid waste to drain from the bag and into the container or toilet. Make sure the drainage tube does not come into contact with any surfaces.

• Using a recommended cleaning solution, carefully cleanse the opening to the drain spout.
• Once clean, close the valve and reattach the drain spout to its sleeve located at the bottom of the bag.
• Finally, clean and/or replace the bag as directed by your caregiver. All connections should be properly cleaned.

Proper Care Results in Healthy Use

If you have a suprapubic catheter, follow the procedures, tips, and suggestions outlined in this article. Proper care of your device and sound sanitary practices will help to ensure that you remain infection free and that your catheter performs adequately.

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