catheter bag

How to Use a Catheter Bag

The Foley catheter is a polymer tube, attached to a urine bag, which is used to drain urine from the bladder. It is widely used by individuals suffering from urinary incontinences or any other urological or gynecological condition that it makes it difficult for them to urinate.

The catheter is placed on to the bladder through the small opening by which the urine passes (called the urethra). A small water-filled balloon is used to keep the catheter in place and to prevent it from falling off. To collect the urine that drains through the tube, a urine bag (also called a catheter bag or a leg bag) is connected to the catheter.

The urine bag stores urine throughout the day and at night. For individuals with a weak bladder, catheter bags can help them sleep soundly at night, without worrying about wetting their beds. These bags come in large, medium and small size and can be used depending on the condition of the patient, the time of the day and other factors. Here is a short guide on how to use such bags:

Attaching the Bag

Catheter bags can easily be attached to your leg and allow you to move around freely. Since the bag is hidden underneath your clothes, it makes you feel much more comfortable since urinary incontinences are a personal and private matter. To remove or attach the urinary bag, make sure you have the following the materials:

  • Clean Leg Bag
  • Water and Towel
  • Tape or a Leg Strap
  • White Vinegar
  • Alcohol pads & Cotton Balls

Regular/Large Drainage Bag

In order to remove or attach the catheter bag, follow these instructions:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for about 15 seconds, thoroughly
  • Empty out the large drainage bag, using a drain sprout or clamp
  • Be careful not to touch the tip when draining out the urine
  • Carefully put a towel under the catheter-bag connecting joint
  • Pinch off the catheter tube to ensure that the urine does not leak out
  • Disconnect the catheter tube from the drainage bag
  • Make sure not to pull on the catheter as the urine might leak out
  • Clean the tip of your Foley catheter with the alcohol pad
  • Attach the leg bag to the catheter tube through the tip
  • Fasten the urine bag to your thigh, using the tape or leg strap

Emptying the Leg Bag

Once your catheter bag is full, it needs to be drained out and cleaned. Since the urine bag is much smaller in size than a drainage bag, it should be emptied and cleaned more frequently. Here are a few tips to clean your leg bag:

  • Empty the bag when it is half-full of urine or at least twice a day
  • You can either drain the urine down your toilet or in a large plastic or metal container
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • Each catheter bag has its own mechanism for draining. Read the instructions carefully
  • Be careful so as not to spill any urine on your hands
  • Once the bag is empty, tightly close the clamp
  • Again, wash your hands with soap and water
  • Keep a track on the amount of urine and the extent to which the leg bag was full