Urinary catheter - guidelines

We have inserted a urinary catheter, to help drain your bladder. This guide guides youin the usage.

About your visit

We have examined you and inserted a urinary catheter to help drain your bladder. The length of time you will have to use the catheter differs from person to person.

The urinary catheter is a hollow, flexible tube that is inserted into the bladder via the urethra. An inflated balloon filled with saline solution keeps the catheter from slipping out. The tube can be connected to a drainage bag and fitted with a stop valve if necessary.

When you get home

Contact your general practitioner if there is a problem with your catheter
You should contact your general practitioner or dial 1813 to reach the medical helpline outside your general practitioner’s opening hours if:

  • there is blood in your urine
  • your urine is cloudy or smells bad
  • your bladder begins to hurt
  • you develop a fever 
  • urine leaks out of the catheter
  • the catheter becomes clogged.

Hygiene is very important

You can take a shower when you have a urinary catheter. However, avoid baths, swimming pools and swimming in the sea, as this will increase the risk of infection. 
Wash your genitals once or twice a day using water and mild soap or a wet wipe. You should also wash the visible part of the catheter i.e. the valve. Wash the valve daily with soap, rinse with water and then wipe it down with disinfectant. 

Always wash your hands before and after touching the catheter and/or the drainage bag.

Avoid bending the tube

Make sure that the tube is never bent. To avoid the tube pulling, make sure it is never wedged or caught up. 

How to use the catheter during the day

During the day, the valve on the catheter must be closed, unless otherwise agreed with the hospital. Keep the valve closed and open it when you need to empty your bladder. However, open the valve every three or four hours to empty the urine into the toilet. In the beginning, it may be a good idea to empty the urine into a measuring cup to see how much comes out and to check what the urine looks like. Once the catheter is empty, close the valve and dry it off with toilet paper or wet wipe.

Instead of a valve, some people are given a drainage bag fixed to their leg with a short tube to use during the day. 

How to use the catheter at night 

The valve on the catheter must be closed at night unless otherwise agreed with the hospital. You do not need to empty the catheter until morning.

Drink plenty of fluids 

We recommend that you drink at least two litres of fluids per day to help prevent bladder infections and reduce the risk of clogging the catheter. Two litres correspond to approximately ten cups of fluids.

The catheter can cause irritation

During the first couple of days, the catheter can make you feel like you need to pee. It can also irritate your urethra. Both are normal and often stop within a few days.

Do not use the valve and drainage bag for more than eight days

The valve and drainage bag can only be used for a maximum of eight days. After eight days, they must be discarded and replaced. 

If you have a permanent catheter, contact your municipality for information on how to obtain additional bags and valves. 

If the catheter is temporary, additional bags and valves can be obtained at the Afdeling for Urinvejssygdomme, clinic 1 or ward 1 at Herlev Hospital. Call the department for an appointment to pick up additional bags and valves.

Urinvejssygdomme, klinik 1
Herlev Hospital 

Borgmester Ib Juuls Vej 5
Entrance 3, 4th floor, E1
2730 Herlev
Telephone:(+45) 38 68 01 40, Monday-Friday from 08:00-15:00

Urinvejssygdomme, sengeafsnit 1
Herlev Hospital 

Borgmester Ib Juuls Vej 1
Entrance 1, 22nd floor
2730 Herlev
Telephone: (+45) 38 68 36 37, every day, 24 hours a day.

Replacing a urinary catheter

If you need to have a urinary catheter for an extended period of time, it must be replaced after ___ days. The catheter can be replaced by your general practitioner, by your homecare nurse or at the hospital. 

Precautions in connection with sex

You can have sex while you have a urinary catheter fitted, but we recommend that you empty your bladder beforehand. 

Women can fix the catheter to their thigh using a plaster or tape.

Men can place the catheter on the underside of the penis and pull a condom over it. Most of the semen will be pushed into the bladder during ejaculation. However, some semen may leak out of the side of the catheter. It is normal for men to feel pain during an erection. 

Proper personal hygiene by you and your partner helps reduce the risk of bladder infection.  

Worth knowing

Your personal data

The Capital Region of Denmark uses the personal data you share with us when you make an enquiry. You can read more about how we use your data and your rights on our website: www.regionh.dk/hp9