Has your urinary drainage bag suddenly turned purple? Don’t be alarmed! While uncommon, purple urinary bag syndrome (PUBS) is a sign of a urinary tract infection but can be prevented with routine catheter maintenance.

What is Purple Urinary Bag Syndrome?

Purple urinary bag syndrome is a complication of urinary tract infections, which causes urine to turn purple in the catheter tubing and drainage bag.

purple bag syndrome The purple discoloration of the catheter tubing and drainage bag is due to the presence of bacteria, and the breakdown of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is important for the production of serotonin in the body. It is commonly found in food such as chicken, turkey, red meat, pork, tofu, fish, beans, milk, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, and eggs. When the bacteria metabolize tryptophan, it produces blue and red pigments, which reacts with the catheter tubing and the plastic material of the catheter bag producing the purple coloration.

It is important to note that purple bag syndrome is not associated with the usage of a specific brand or type of urinary drainage bags. Purple urinary bag syndrome can occur with all catheter types.

Treatment for PUBS

Treatment for purple urinary bag syndrome is simple. Typically changing your catheter and drainage bag as well as a round of antibiotics to treat the underlying UTI will prevent future growth of bacteria and resolve the purple discoloration.

Preventing Infections & Purple Urinary Bag Syndrome

Routine catheter maintenance is essential for preventing infections and purple bag syndrome.

To take care of your catheter and drainage bag, you should:

  • Change your drainage bags regularly.
  • Wash your drainage bags every day.
  • Keep the catheter secured to your thigh to keep it from moving.
  • Keep the drainage bag below the level of your bladder.
  • Keep your drainage bag off the floor at all times.
  • Don’t lie on your catheter or block the flow of urine in the tubing.
  • Shower daily to keep the catheter clean.
  • Wash your hands before and after touching the catheter or bag.

If you are experiencing signs of a urinary tract infection or purple urinary bag syndrome, please speak to your doctor.

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