Clean intermittent catheterization is now the standard of care for individuals who experience urinary retention or incontinence. With intermittent catheterization to drain the bladder, there is lower risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder atrophy than with indwelling Foley catheters. Still, some individuals are unable to perform self-catheterization or have a caregiver catheterize them. In these cases, an indwelling Foley may be necessary. With the introduction of a catheter through the urethra to drain the bladder, there comes a greater risk of urinary tract infection from bacteria entering the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections can be severe and serious, not to mention painful and uncomfortable. Precautions are definitely warranted to avoid or reduce the incidence of UTI’s. Following are some general rules of thumb to follow when performing intermittent catheterization in order to reduce the risk of experiencing a urinary tract infection.
- Drink adequate amounts of water–6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
- Catheterize as prescribed by your doctor: don’t skip catheterizations.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water every time before you self-cath.
- Use a new catheter each time you catheterize: don’t wash and reuse catheters.
- Use sterile insertion supplies if you experience UTIs while cathing.
Closed System Catheters, Catheter Kits, or Sterile Insertion Supplies are clinically proven to reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs). These kits contain an attachable drainage bag, underdrape, BZK wipes or povidone iodine swab sticks, lubricant and gloves. If you are a catheter user, who continues to experience urinary tract infections while on a program of clean intermittent catheterization, be sure to visit your doctor and request a urinalysis with culture if you think you have a UTI. You may also consider using sterile insertion supplies to reduce the risk of getting a UTI if you have vesicoureteral reflux, are immunosuppressed, or experience recurrent urinary tract infections even while performing intermittent catheterization with a clean technique and using a new catheter each time.