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Continuous Bladder Irrigation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.


What you need to know about bladder irrigation:

Bladder irrigation is a procedure used to flush sterile fluid through your catheter and into your bladder. Bladder irrigation helps remove and prevent blood clots in your bladder. The blood clots stop urine from flowing through your catheter. The urine collects in your bladder and causes pain that gets worse as your bladder fills. Bladder irrigation may be needed after bladder or prostate surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation can also cause blood clots in your bladder.

What will happen during continuous bladder irrigation:

If you have surgery, the catheter will be placed during your surgery. If you do not have surgery, the catheter will be placed while you are in bed.

  • A catheter (thin tube) will be placed in your bladder. The catheter will have holes that are large enough to allow clots to pass. It will have 3 tubes coming from the end. The first will be attached to your drainage bag. The second will be used to inflate the balloon that keeps the catheter in place. The third will be attached to tubing that goes into 2 bags of saline (salt water). The fluids will hang from an IV pole. The tubing may be put through a pump so that the speed of the fluid can be controlled.
  • The clamp for the first bag will be open until the bag is empty. Then your healthcare provider will close that clamp and open the clamp on the second bag. While the second bag is flowing, your healthcare provider will replace the first bag.

What to expect after continuous bladder irrigation:

You can expect some discomfort with the catheter in place. At the start of the irrigation, your urine will be bloody and may have blood clots in it. As the irrigation continues, your urine should become pink and clear. Your healthcare providers will empty your drainage bag frequently. Your bladder irrigation will be stopped when you have had clear or slightly pink urine for 1 to 2 days. Tell your healthcare provider if you have bladder pain or your bladder feels full. Tell him if fluid is leaking around your catheter.

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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.

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