The Facts on Your Foley Catheter

Here’s what you need to know about caring for this device.

Kathleen Engel
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At some point during treatment, you may need a Foley catheter—a thin, flexible tube that’s used to drain urine from the bladder through the penis. It’s important to keep the area clean to prevent infection and potentially serious illness. Follow these steps for proper catheter care:

  1. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after you touch the catheter, tubing or drainage bag.
  2. Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions for how and when to clean the catheter, drainage bag and the skin around the catheter. Ask your healthcare provider how to treat the tip of the penis if it becomes sore.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids—at least 8 cups a day of water or other healthy fluids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which are dehydrating.
  4. Secure the drainage bag to your body to make sure it drains properly.
  5. Empty the drainage bag when it is half full.
  6. Keep the catheter drainage system closed except when changing the bag.
  7. Keep the drainage bag below waist-level to prevent urine from flowing back into the bladder.
  8. Make sure no kinks are in the tubing. And never pull or tug the catheter.
  9. Don't remove the catheter. Only your healthcare provider should do this.
  10. Don’t delay the scheduled removal or replacement of the catheter.
January 2013