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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.


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.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antifungals help treat an infection caused by fungus.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • 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 will prevent urine from moving back into your bladder, which can cause an infection.
  • Empty the urine bag as directed. This may prevent urine from moving 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 healthcare provider 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.