Foley Catheter Care 

Cross-section of the organs in the lower pelvis, including the vagina, bladder, urethra, and a Foley catheter.

A Foley catheter is a rubber tube that is placed through the urethra and into the bladder. The urethra is the opening where urine comes out. The catheter helps drain urine from the bladder. There is a small balloon on the end of the tube that is inflated after the catheter is put in place. This keeps the catheter from sliding out of the bladder.

A Foley catheter is used when you are unable to pass urine (urinary retention). It's also used when there is loss of bladder control (incontinence).

Home care

  • Finish taking any prescribed antibiotic medicine even if you are feeling better before then.

  • It's important to keep bacteria from getting into the collection bag. Don't disconnect the catheter from the collection bag.

  • Use a leg band to secure the drainage tube, so it doesn't pull on the catheter. Drain the collection bag when it becomes full using the drain spout at the bottom of the bag.

  • Don't try to pull or remove your catheter. This will injure your urethra. It must be removed by your healthcare provider or nurse.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. This is for repeat urine testing and for catheter removal or replacement.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Bladder pain or fullness

  • Abdominal swelling, nausea or vomiting, or back pain

  • Blood or urine leakage around the catheter

  • Bloody urine coming from the catheter (if a new symptom)

  • Catheter falls out

  • Catheter stops draining for 6 hours

  • Weakness, dizziness, or fainting

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