Catheters and UTI prevention

Oct 17, 2018 | Kimberly Williams

Who needs catheters, and why do catheters increase the risk of UTIs?

Dealing with a catheter is bearable when you think about the bigger picture: your health. However, if you’re experiencing UTI symptoms too, you probably feel like you just can’t catch a break. That’s where we come in. We’ll walk you through explanations and solutions to get you back on track. And don’t forget: YOU GOT THIS.


When would you need a catheter?


An indwelling urethral catheter is a flexible, clear tube that acts as your urethra.  Usually the catheter is inserted in your urethra, or in some cases, through an opening made in your lower abdomen. It’s connected to the bladder and carries urine out of your body into a drainage bag.Catheters come in handy for a number of reasons:

  • Catheters can empty the bladder before or after surgery in order to run tests.
  • To empty your bladder during labour if you have an epidural.
  • If you have a neurological condition or nerve damage that inhibits you to empty your bladder the natural way.
  • If you have urinary incontinence (involuntary leakage) and a catheter is the best way to manage it.
  • Catheters carry treatment to the bladder, such as chemotherapy for bladder cancer.  
  • If your urethra is obstructed (so urine can’t travel out) from scarring or an enlarged prostate, a catheter will drain urine.  

Why do catheters increase the chance of UTIs?


Hospitals look spic n’ span but microbiologists beg to differ. It’s widely known that hospitals are breeding grounds for germs (looking at you, privacy curtains). However, others argue that they aren’t any worse than the typical home.

Even though you go to the doctors to get better, you are still at risk for getting a hospital-acquired infection.


  • 70-80% of UTIs acquired in health facilities are due to indwelling urethral catheters. That’s because germs such as E.coli are introduced to the urethra when the catheter is inserted or while it remains in the bladder. Bacteria can travel up the catheter and adhere to the urethra or bladder walls and multiply.
  • The longer you have a catheter in, the higher your chances are for getting a UTI.
  • Elderly people are at a higher risk due to compromised immune systems, diabetes, and in women, post- menopause lack of estrogen.
  • While UTIs are less common in men, indwelling catheter use also increases the risk of UTI.
  • If you suffer from UTI symptoms during of after catheter use, contact your doctor immediately so they can diagnose and treat you before the infection worsens.


Here’s what you can do get ahead of UTIs and stay on top of your health according to the Center for Disease Control:


  • Healthcare providers are to wash their hands before touching your catheter. If you don’t see them clan their hands, ask them to do so.
  • To prevent germs from travelling into the catheter tube, avoid disconnecting it from the drain tube.
  • Don’t kink or twist your catheter. It should be secured to your leg to keep you from pulling it on accident.
  • The drainage bag should be lower than your bladder to keep urine from back-flowing to your bladder.
  • Empty the drainage bag regularly. The drainage spout to the bag should not contact anything while emptying.
  • If you go home with a catheter, make sure your doctor or nurse explains what you should know about proper catheter care. DOn’t hesitate to ask questions if something is unclear.
  • Ensure you know how to get a hold of your doctor or nurse immediately if you have questions or develop UTI symptoms (painful burning when urinating, murky or bloody urine, etc.).


We know it’s frustrating when something that’s supposed to help you recover makes you feel worse! Being overwhlemed is an understatement. In addition to the guidelines stated above, drink Uqora, your secret weapon to preventing UTIs. It stops bacteria from adhering to your urinary tract and gives you an immunity boost, so you can get back to doing the things you love. 

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Lacey, Uqora customer
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