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Catheterization: An introduction

Posted by Ann V. On 2016 Mar 13th

Catheterization: An introduction

You must have seen patients roaming around in hospitals with a flexible tube inserted into their body. It is called catheterization. Catheterization is a medical process in which a tube is inserted into patient’s body to drain urine from his/her bladder.The flexible tube is called catheter, and the whole process isknown as catheterization.Insertion of catheter into the bladder through abdomen allows urine to flow and accumulate into a drainage bag.

Catheterizationis a process which is done by doctors in hospitals. This process can be carried out in two different ways, depending on requirement and medical condition of a patient. The most common is insertion of catheter through the tube to help carry urine out of the bladder, while the other one is done by making a small incision in patient’s near waist to make a small opening for catheter. In both processes catheter remains intact, allowing flow of urine into a drainage bag. It can be removed after a few hours, days or months, depending on a patient’s medical condition.

Reasons why catheterizationis done

Generally, catheterization is performed in people who have difficulty urinating in a natural way. Sometimes it is performed to help empty the bladderof a patient who is going or has gone under the knife. Other reasons are:

  • Obstruction in tube carrying urine out of the bladder
  • Weak or damaged balder affecting ability to pass urine naturally
  • For emptying the bladder during childbirth in some cases
  • For emptying the bladder during or after surgery

It’s doctor’s discretion when to remove the catheter.In most cases, it is removed before leaving the hospital premises. But it may be required for a longer timeor permanently, depending on a patient’s medical condition.

Risks associated with catheterization

The main and foremost risk of catheterization is infection. Sometimes bacteria can enter your body through catheter.As a result of this, organs like urethra of bladder of your body can catch infection if not attended timely. Medical term for such type of infections is urinary tract infection.Because of high risks of getting infected, catheterization is recommended only when there is no other alternative way of emptying the bladder.

How to look after your catheter

Generally, catheter is removed on the day you leave the hospital. If you need it for a longer time, then you need to take detailed advice from the doctor on how to take care of catheter as well as yourself in such an unavoidable circumstance.

First thing to keep in mind is hygiene. Because chances of catching an infection are high, you should seek medical advice on how and when to change the catheter. Try to make peace with it as it as you know it is going to stay with you for longer than ever. Wear clothes that can easily conceal the catheter and drain bag under them so that you don’t find it intrusive while carrying out everyday activities.