Home > Health Library > Suprapubic Catheter Care
A suprapubic catheter is a thin, sterile tube used to drain urine from your bladder when you cannot urinate. This type of catheter is used if you aren't able to use a catheter that is inserted into the urethra. The urethra carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
Your doctor inserts the catheter into the bladder through a cut (incision) in your lower belly, just above the pubic bone.
When the catheter is in the bladder, a small balloon is inflated to keep the catheter in place.
The urine drains from the bladder into a bag that is usually attached to the thigh. Sometimes the catheter tube has a valve that lets you drain the urine into the toilet or other container.
You may need this type of catheter if you have nerve damage or if you have problems with your bladder or urethra.
How long you have the catheter depends on why you have it. Many people need it for long periods of time.
Having a catheter for a long time increases the risk of getting a urinary tract infection. Home care focuses on preventing infection.
Clean the area around the catheter with soap and water once a day.
Empty the drainage bag when it is full or at least every 8 hours.
Your catheter may have to be replaced every 4 to 6 weeks. A caregiver may do this for you.
You may be given a catheter kit that has the supplies you need. If you have not received a kit, ask your doctor what you'll need. Some of the things you'll need include a new catheter, syringes, sterile fluid, sterile medical gloves, skin cleaning supplies, and lubricant.
Here are general instructions for replacing the catheter. Your doctor, nurse, or home health care worker may give you more specific instructions.
Don't wait to put in the new catheter. If you wait, the opening can close.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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