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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection


A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI)

is an infection caused by an indwelling urinary catheter. An indwelling urinary catheter is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into the bladder. It is left in place to drain urine. The infection may travel along the catheter and into the bladder or kidneys.

Common symptoms include the following:

A CAUTI may not cause symptoms or you may have any of the following:

  • Fever and chills
  • Pain in your lower abdomen or back
  • Pus from the area where the catheter is inserted, or pus in your urine
  • Bad-smelling, cloudy, bloody, or dark urine
  • Burning during urination or frequent urination after the catheter is removed
  • Sudden, strong need to urinate
  • Confusion in older adults

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain in your lower back or abdomen.
  • You have blood in your urine.
  • You stop urinating, or you urinate much less than usual.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your symptoms do not improve or get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for CAUTI

may include medicine to treat an infection or decrease pain or fever. Your urinary catheter may be removed or changed to help get rid of the infection.


  • Drink fluids as directed. Fluids may help your kidneys and bladder get rid of the infection.
  • Keep the catheter area clean. Clean your skin around the catheter as directed. Shower once a day. Do not take baths or go in hot tubs until your infection is gone.
  • Do not have sex until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Sex may delay healing or cause another UTI.

Prevent another CAUTI:

  • Wash your hands before and after you use the bathroom or touch the catheter. Wash your hands to prevent the spread of infection to your urinary tract.
  • Clean all parts of your catheter as directed. Keep your catheter tubing clean. Do not place the catheter on the ground. Do not allow the drainage spout to touch the toilet. Use an alcohol swab to clean the end of drainage spout as directed.
  • Keep the drainage bag below your waist. This may prevent urine from moving back into your bladder, which can cause an infection.
  • Empty the urine bag as directed. This may prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder.
  • Women should wipe front to back after a bowel movement. This may prevent germs from getting into the urinary tract.
  • Keep the catheter secured to your leg as directed. Use tape or a special catheter holder to prevent your catheter from being pulled. This may also prevent kinks that could cause the urine to move back into the bladder.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.