It seems intermittent catheter use and urinary tract infections go hand in hand.
However, there are some general methods that should lower your risk of UTI's. Please consult your physician prior to changes to catheterization regiment.
- Drink plenty of the right fluids - 6-8 glasses of fluids daily can help dilute urine and flush bacteria from the bladder. Try to stay away from caffeinated or artificial sweeteners added to drinks as that may irritate the bladder.
- Maintain good hygiene - Always wash your hands and clean around the urethral opening prior to inserting the catheter. Remember to wash from front to back for proper feminine hygiene. Outside bacteria entering the urethra will certainly raise the risk of infection. Any bowl programs should be performed after your catheterization regiment.
- Regularly and completely empty the bladder - This eliminates residual urine and bacteria from the bladder. How often depends on your circumstances but 4-6 times per day is standard. A slight catheter pull and hesitation after urine stops may help get the last few drops from the bladder. Generally volumes of under 300 cc's are recommended to avoid overstretching the bladder.
- Do not reuse catheters - Use a new sterile catheter each time. This eliminates the possibility of introducing bacteria from a catheter. The catheter manufacturer packaging states for single use only.
- Use the right catheter type - Intermittent catheters are different. Some a lubricant is added. Others have a hydrophilic coating. And still others are a closed catheter with an introducer tip. Less friction and trauma to the urethral lining and an introducer tip to bypass initial urethral bacteria may help reduce the risk of UTI's.
- Increase bladder acid - Some take cranberry supplements to increase bladder acidity but the clinical evidence of it's effectiveness is inconclusive.
The fewer UTI's you fight and the fewer antibiotics you take the better your health and your pocketbook!
Contact GO Medical today to provide all your catheters and catheter accessories needs delivered to your door at discount prices.