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Foley Catheter Removal
What you need to know about Foley catheter removal:
Your Foley catheter will be removed when you no longer need it. Your catheter may be removed by a healthcare provider. You may instead be able to remove it at home. Your provider will make sure you have any supplies you need if you are able to remove the catheter at home.
What will happen during Foley catheter removal by a healthcare provider:
Your healthcare provider will insert a syringe into the balloon port of the catheter. This is the opening in the catheter that is not attached to the bag. He or she will empty the water from the balloon at the end of the catheter. This is done by pulling back on the plunger of the syringe. After the balloon is emptied, your healthcare provider will ask you to take a deep breath and then exhale. This will help relax your pelvic floor muscles. As you exhale, your provider will gently pull on the catheter to remove it. You may feel some discomfort as the empty balloon moves through your urethra.
How to remove the Foley catheter at home:
- Empty any urine out of the bag.
- Wash your hands. Use soap and warm running water. Dry your hands with a clean towel. Your provider may recommend that you wear gloves for this procedure to help prevent an infection.
- Take the drainage bag off. You may need to clamp or cap the end to prevent leaks. You can move the catheter tube in a full circle to the left and then to the right. Full circles in each direction can help make sure the catheter tube can move freely.
- Put the syringe on the end of the catheter tube. Push and twist the syringe to make sure it is in the right position. Pull back on the syringe plunger to draw water out of the balloon catheter. This will make it deflate in your bladder.
- You may want to stand or sit in your shower or bathtub to remove the catheter. Urine may drip out as you remove it. Slowly pull the catheter out. If it becomes hard to pull out, move it in a full circle in each direction again. Then try to pull the catheter out again. If it does not come out when you pull gently, stop. Call your healthcare provider.
- If you are able to pull out the catheter, put it and the syringe into the trash bag. Use a towel to wipe up urine or water that spilled during the removal process. Then wash your hands.
What will happen after Foley catheter removal:
You may be asked to drink plenty of liquids after the removal of your catheter. This will help to flush out bacteria that can build up while using a Foley catheter. You may need to take antibiotics if you had surgery on your urinary tract.
Risks of Foley catheter removal:
- The urinary catheter balloon may rupture while it is being removed. A cystoscopy may need to be done to remove any remaining balloon pieces if this happens. A cystoscopy is a procedure to look inside of your urethra and bladder using a cystoscope. A cystoscope is a small tube with a light and magnifying camera on the end.
- You may have certain urinary symptoms for up to 48 hours after your Foley catheter is removed. These include urinary urgency and frequency. Urinary urgency means you feel such a strong need to urinate that you have trouble waiting. You may also feel discomfort in your bladder. Urinary frequency means you need to urinate many times during the day. You may also have pain while urinating, or your bladder may not empty completely when you urinate.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You are removing the catheter at home and it will not come out with a gentle pull.
- You do not urinate at all within 8 hours of your catheter removal.
- You have a fever.
- You are leaking urine.
- You have urinary urgency, frequency, or trouble urinating for more than 48 hours after catheter removal.
- You have pain while you urinate or you feel like your bladder is not emptying completely for more than 48 hours after catheter removal.
- You see blood in your urine.
- Your abdomen is bloated.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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.