During your surgery, a catheter (a small tube) is placed in your bladder to drain urine. Your doctor decides how long the catheter will stay in place after surgery. In some cases, you may go home with the catheter still in place.
The two types of catheters commonly used for urinary surgery are a Foley catheter and a suprapubic catheter. Some surgeons use both of these catheters for the first 24 hours.
A Foley catheter is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. This catheter follows the usual path that urine travels from the bladder to the outside of the body. The urine drains into a collection bag.
A suprapubic catheter is inserted into the bladder through a small cut in the lower abdomen. Urine drains through a small tube and is collected in a bag outside of the body.
You may feel the need to urinate even though the catheter is draining urine from your bladder. If your bladder feels full, your nurse will make sure your catheter is working properly. Relax your pelvic muscles and do not try to "hold" your urine.
- Always place the drainage bag below the level of the bladder to keep urine from flowing back into the bladder. Secure the catheter tubing to the upper leg to prevent pulling.
- Water is the best liquid to drink after urinary surgery. Apple juice is another option.
- Avoid liquids that have caffeine in them (carbonated beverages, tea or coffee) and fruit juices, such as cranberry and citrus, because they irritate the bladder.
- It is common for your urine to have blood in it after surgery, but this should decrease over time. Your urine may also be blue, green or white in color due to the medications used during surgery.
When your doctor feels you are ready, your catheter will be removed. You will then try to urinate on your own. A container will be placed in the toilet to collect all urine.
After you have urinated several times, your nurse may do a scan of your bladder or insert a small catheter to see if your bladder is empty. The amount left in the bladder is called residual urine. If this amount is small, the catheter is removed.
If the residual amount is large:
- Your catheter may be left in place for a few more days.
- You may be taught to catheterize yourself. (You may want to ask a family member to help you do this.)
- Bladder retraining exercises may begin.
It may take an extended period to empty your bladder on your own. Remember to be patient and ask questions.
- Try distraction methods to help relax your muscles. For example, put your hand in warm water, spray warm water around the urethra with the spray bottle given to you, take deep breaths or read a magazine.
- Do not allow your bladder to become overly full.
- Do not strain or attempt to push the urine out.
Bladder training "teaches" the bladder to hold urine and increase how long you can wait before having to urinate. Techniques include:
- Planning bathrooms visits
- Holding or delaying urination
- Kegel exercises (to strengthen the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine)
One of the risks with urinary catheters is infection. Proper hygiene helps reduce this risk and keep you healthy.
- Wash your hands before and after you touch your incision.
- Wash your hands after you use the bathroom.
- Rinse your genital area with warm water after you go to the bathroom.
- Always wipe your genital area from front to back.
- Keep skin around the urinary catheter and the catheter tubing clean.