Avoiding Infections or CAUTI

Why is there a greater chance of UTIs for people who use catheters?

Catheterization involves the insertion of a foreign object (a catheter) into the urethra to empty the bladder. This could increase the risk of bacteria being forced more in-depth into the urethra. In the end, as the bacteria lingers and grow, this may cause an infection.

UTIs (catheter-associated urinary tract infections) are also referred to as CAUTIs. This occurs in a person who uses catheters when a condition arises.

CAUTIs arise when a Foley catheter or intermittent catheter adds bacteria or pathogens to the urethra. From there, if the infection goes untreated, the bacteria will migrate up to the bladder and even the kidneys.

Avoiding Infections

While intermittent catheterization should help you prevent UTIs, the procedure can often have an unfortunate effect. However, the risk can be reduced if you are cautious and use the correct equipment. To prevent urinary tract infections, here are the precautions you should take.

To help avoid the recurrence of UTIs, consider the following suggestions.



Before each catheterization, wash your hands and genital area. The genital area should be cleaned once a day with a mild soap, but note that more regular washing can kill good natural bacteria and mucosa that help combat infection. Stop scratching the catheter tube, as this can taint its surface. Some catheters have an insertion aid or sterile handle that allows you without touching it to insert the catheter tube.

Completely clear your bladder.

Sometimes, excess urine is a source of infection. When you catheterize, take your time. Slowly remove the catheter to ensure that the bladder is empty. Catheter tubes that are too small will leave residual urine, raising the risk of getting an infection of the urinary tract. Your catheter must be the right length. Ask your doctor or nurse for advice to ensure your catheter has the right tube length.

Your health care professional should tell you how much you should catheterize every day. Urinating 4–6 times a day at regular intervals is the general rule of thumb. You are waiting too long if you void more than 400 ml of urine at any given interval. Medical studies have shown that UTIs’ risk is increased by the high amount of urine in the bladder.

Avoid any friction

Your urinary tract has natural mucosa that prevents damage caused by bacteria. The defense of this mucous membrane also helps reduce the risk of infection. There is a surface that connects water to specific hydrophilic catheter tubes. This makes the line very slippery, avoiding friction and damage to the mucosa of the urethra, both when it enters and when it comes out. Not all hydrophilic catheters are the same, so ask for guidance from your doctor or nurse to select the best hydrophilic catheter for you.

Drink liquid

Drinking 1 1⁄2–2 liters of fluid per day will flush out harmful bacteria and prevent urinary tract infections.

Don’t reuse a catheter.

Your risk of contracting UTI or bladder infection may be increased by reusing catheters. Even if you clean your catheters after using them on or inside the tube, they may still have bacteria and pathogens. It is no longer sterile after the catheter has been used. Just throw it away after use and make sure to have enough catheter supplies on hand so that when it’s time to self-catheterize again, you’ll have a new sterile catheter ready.

To ensure that you don’t have to wash and reuse your catheters, most private insurance providers cover enough intermittent catheters every month.

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