Living with a Foley catheter can be a challenging and transformative experience. Whether you are dealing with temporary, intermittent catheterization after surgery or long-term catheterization due to a medical condition, the adjustment can be difficult. However, with the proper knowledge, support, catheter supplies, and a positive mindset, you can maintain a good quality of life while living with a Foley catheter.
In this blog post, we will discuss what a Foley catheter is, what to expect when living with one, and some tips to make the experience more manageable.
What is a Foley Catheter?
A Foley catheter, or indwelling catheter, is a thin, flexible tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra or a surgical opening in the lower abdomen. It is held in place by a small inflatable balloon at the catheter’s tip. The balloon is filled with sterile water, preventing the catheter from falling out of the bladder. The inflated balloon helps the catheter remain securely in place until the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed. Foley catheters are used for various reasons, such as urinary retention, surgery, injury, or to monitor urine output during critical care.
Four Expectations When Living with a Foley Catheter
1. Urinary Drainage
One of the most significant changes when living with a Foley catheter is the continuous urine drainage into a collection bag. It is essential to keep the urine drainage bag below the level of your bladder to allow gravity to work. With the urine drainage bag placed correctly, urine can flow freely from the bladder, down the tube, and into the collection bag.
Some discomfort, pain, or a sense of fullness is expected when the Foley catheter is inserted, but these sensations usually subside over time. If they persist or worsen, consult your healthcare provider.
3. Infection Risk
With any device that is inserted into the body, remaining there for some time, there is a small risk of infection. Because the Foley catheter is directly connected to the bladder, it is crucial to maintain good hygiene and follow proper catheter care instructions. These practices will help prevent the risk of a bladder infection.
You may need to adjust your clothing and activities to accommodate the tubing and drainage bag. Special clothing or drainage bag holders can help maintain your mobility and comfort. Try opting for loose, stretchy, and darker-colored clothing to allow for comfort and discretion.
Six Tips for Living with a Foley Catheter
1. Proper Hygiene
As we mentioned before, proper hygiene can help prevent infection. Clean the Foley catheter and the area around it regularly, and wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling it.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough fluids is crucial to maintain kidney and bladder health. Ensure you follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for fluid intake.
3. Catheter Maintenance
Regularly emptying and cleaning the drainage bag is essential. Ensure it is always below bladder level, and avoid any kinks or twists in the tubing that can prevent urine from flowing freely.
Physical activity is essential for overall health and well-being. Discuss with your healthcare provider how to maintain your exercise routine. Some types of strenuous activity may not be permitted, but you may be surprised how much you can do when it comes to exercise.
Living with a Foley catheter can be emotionally challenging. It is essential to seek support from friends, family, or support groups to help you cope with feelings of isolation or frustration. Support can provide a safe space to share feelings, fears, and frustrations with others who understand the experience. Seeking emotional support can help reduce feelings of isolation and feel a sense of empowerment.
Communicate with Your Doctor
It is critical to keep open lines of communication with your healthcare team. Discuss any concerns, changes in your condition, or issues related to living with your Foley catheter immediately.
Summing it Up
Living with a Foley catheter may present unique challenges, but with proper care, support, and catheter supplies, you can maintain a good quality of life. Following proper hygiene, staying in close contact with your healthcare provider, and seeking emotional support can make the experience more manageable. Remember, a Foley catheter is a temporary solution to a medical issue, and it should not deter you from leading a fulfilling life.
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Disclaimer: Important Notice Regarding Medical Advice
The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.