If you have been sent home with a foley catheter, the nurse should have instructed you on routine catheter care, use of a leg bag, etc. Common problems we hear about with foley catheters include:

Blood in the tubing (in the urine).
If you’ve had recent surgery or if you are being irritated by the catheter, blood in the tubing is fairly common.
What to do:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep the bladder flushed.
  • Don’t worry about blood clots in the tubing or bag, as long as the catheter is draining.
  • If clots obstruct the catheter, and it stops draining, you will need to have the catheter flushed out or changed, either in the office during business hours or in the emergency room after hours.

Sediment in the tubing or bag.
No worries–this is also common.

Urine (or blood) leakage around the catheter.
Again, a common complaint. Leakage occurs when bladder spasms force urine out around the catheter. It only becomes a problem if the catheter stops draining completely. (see below)

Obstructed (non-draining) catheter.
Obstructions can be causes by blood clots, tissue, or sediment in the catheter. If your catheter stops draining, and your bladder fills up (it will be uncomfortable), you will need the catheter flushed or changed. Again, this can be done in the office or in the emergency room if the office is closed.

Catheter falls out.
A small balloon on the end of the catheter rests inside the bladder to keep it in place. Some movement of the catheter is common, but the balloon would have to deflate for the catheter to come out. In the rare instance that your catheter does fall out, and you cannot urinate, go to the office (or the emergency room after hours) to have it replaced. If the catheter is removed with the balloon inflated, also a rare occurrence, you could have bleeding from the prostate and urethra, but it usually resolves in an hour or two.


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