Always speak to your doctor or healthcare team as your first step in dealing with a UTI. These are tips only and not a substitute for medical advice.
As an intermittent catheter user, you may be prone to developing a urinary tract infection at some point during your cathing routine. While it is important to know the symptoms and treatment of UTIs, it is also beneficial to know what you can do to help prevent them. Here are a few ways to help prevent UTIs when self-cathing:
- Stick to your prescribed cathing routine. After speaking with your doctor, a routine that best meets your needs and approach to cathing should be determined. This routine should include knowing on average, how many times a day you’ll need to self-cath.
- Don’t wait to self-cath. If you have the urge to urinate, don’t hesitate or wait too long to empty your bladder. If you don’t empty your bladder properly, urine will become stagnant and create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
- Always wash your hands before and after cathing. Clean hands can help prevent contamination of your catheter and the spread of bacteria when it is being inserted into your urethra.
- Effective personal care: In addition to washing your hands, be sure to cleanse your genital area with mild, fragrance-free soap or pre-moistened wipes.
- Never reuse your intermittent catheter. Intermittent catheters are a single-use device. Do not try to clean your catheter once it has been inserted into your urethra. Use a new catheter each time you cath.
- Water is your friend. Staying hydrated is essential for keeping the body functioning at its optimal level and helps to flush out bacteria and toxins from your system. It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages. Drinks like soda, tea or coffee will make the body produce more urine at an accelerated rate because of the diuretic effects of caffeine. This can throw off your cathing routine. Caffeinated beverages can also irritate your bladder.
- Only touch what needs to be touched: Catheters like GentleCath Air and GentleCath Glide come with a handling sleeve designed to help reduce contamination of the catheter tube. Using this sleeve to handle the catheter may help prevent bacteria from your hands from being transferred to the catheter and then into your urethra.
- Empty your bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. The purpose of this is to flush out any bacteria that has been introduced to your urethra through sexual activity.
- Home remedy – Cranberries. Consuming fresh or frozen cranberries, or pure (unsweetened) cranberry juice may be beneficial to help reduce the growth of bacteria in your urethra. Speak with your healthcare professional first. If you are on blood-thinning medications consuming cranberry juice may have negative side effects with your medication.
UTI Prevention Tips for Women
Women tend to be more prone to urinary tract infections due to the length and location of their urethra. In general, women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do.1 Click here for additional prevention tips for women.
Don’t panic, stay calm but be proactive.
Remember, UTIs are common. With prompt and proper attention, UTIs can easily be treated. Don’t ignore symptoms and once your UTI has been identified, follow your healthcare professionals prescribe treatment plan.
If you think you have a urinary tract infection, or are suffering from any of these symptoms, please contact your healthcare professional immediately. This information is not meant to replace medical advice.