Skip to main content

Foley Catheter Removal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What do I 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. Antibiotics may be given before the catheter is removed to prevent a bacterial infection.

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 with a syringe. After the balloon is emptied, your 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 catheter is removed.

How do I 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. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should drink and which liquids are best for you. You may need to take antibiotics if you had surgery on your urinary tract.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

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