As an intermittent catheter user, hygiene is key to helping reduce the risk of UTIs and bladder infections. If you do not practice good hygiene while self-cathing, you could be transferring millions of germs and bacteria into your urethra, creating a breeding ground for UTIs.
Some common symptoms of urinary tract infections include:
- Burning or pain in the lower abdomen
- Bloody urine
- Burning during urination or an increase in the frequency of urination after the catheter is removed
Wash Your Hands
You should always start the self-catheterization process by washing your hands to prevent contamination of your intermittent catheter. According to the CDC, there are five steps to washing your hands the right way:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Make sure you get the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel.
For added protection, carry hand sanitizer with you when soap and water aren’t available.
Cleanse Your Genital Area
Use mild soap and water or an unscented wipe to cleanse the urethral area from front to back and then pat dry with a clean paper towel. To reduce the risk of contamination, avoid coming into contact with anything else after cleansing your genitals.
You should avoid using scented soaps, perfume, talcum powder, antiperspirants, bubble bath, bath salts, and creams/lotions on your genital area.
Discard Your Catheter After Each Use
TruCath® intermittent catheters are single-use catheters and should not be reused. While cleaning your catheter after using may seem like a good idea, reusing catheters can increase your risk of contracting a UTI.
Use an Insertion Kit
Many catheter users find it helpful to use insertion kits to help keep their hands clean and create a clean self-cathing environment. TruCath® insertion kits include disposable gloves, 5g lube jelly packet, BZK wipe, underpad, and disposal bag, making it the ultimate convenience for self-catheterization.
Use a Closed System Catheter
If you are practicing good hygiene and are still battling constant UTIs, you may want to consider switching to a closed system catheter as an added safety measure against UTIs. Closed system catheters are touch-free, all-in-one catheter systems that include a pre-lubricated catheter with an attached collection bag. Closed system catheters feature an introducer tip that shields the catheter from bacteria at the beginning of the urethra where most bacteria is concentrated, thus helping to prevent UTIs.
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