Although intermittent catheterization should help you avoid UTI’s, they might sometimes be an unfortunate consequence of the procedure. However, if you are careful and using the right equipment, the risk can be minimized. Here are the steps you can take to avoid urinary tract infections.
Wash your hands before each catheterization. The genital area can be washed with a mild soap once a day, but remember that washing more often can remove the natural good bacteria and mucosa that help fight infection. Avoid touching the catheter tube, as this may contaminate its surface. Some catheters, like LoFric Primo and LoFric Origo, have an insertion aid or sterile handle that helps you insert the catheter tube without touching it.
Empty your bladder completely and often
Excess urine is often a cause of infection. Take your time when you catheterize. Withdraw the catheter slowly to ensure the bladder is empty.
It is important that your catheter is the right length – catheter tubes that are too short can leave residual urine, increasing the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. To ensure your catheter has the correct tube length, ask your doctor or nurse for advice.
Your health care professional will advise you on how often to catheterize each day. The general rule of thumb is to urinate 4–6 times a day at regular intervals. If you void more than 400 ml of urine at any interval, you are waiting too long. Medical trials have shown that a high volume of urine in the bladder increases the risk of UTI’s.
Your urethra and bladder have natural mucosa that prevent bacteria from causing harm. Protecting this mucous will also help minimize the risk of infection. LoFric hydrophilic catheter tubes have a surface that binds water. This makes the tube very slippery, preventing friction – and damage to the urethra mucosa – both when it goes in and when it comes out. Not all hydrophilic catheters are the same, so ask your doctor or nurse for help in choosing the hydrophilic catheter that’s right for you.
Drinking 1½–2 liters of fluid every day may flush harmful bacteria out and help prevent urinary tract infections.