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Yes, You Can Still Do These 5 Surprising Things with Indwelling Catheters

Mar 22, 2022 9:00:00 AM / by ABC Medical

ABC Medical


An indwelling catheter, or Foley catheter, is a thin, flexible tube placed in your bladder and connected to drainage bag for urine collection. It is different from intermittent catheterization, because the catheter is left in place to continually drain urine into a collection bag. Some people have an indwelling catheter placed through the urethra. Others may have their catheter inserted through a surgically created opening in the lower abdomen, also known as a suprapubic catheter.

Having an indwelling urinary catheter shouldn’t stop you from engaging in most of your normal activities. While it may take some time to get used to living with a catheter, as you grow more comfortable with the process of caring for it, you’ll find that you can be just as active as you were before your catheter.

It’s important to note you should discuss any new activities with your doctor, who may offer guidance or special instructions as you reintroduce activities into your lifestyle.

1. Showering

You can shower with a catheter in place. Patients using a urine drainage bag need to keep the bag below the bladder at all times but can rest it on a shelf or stool while showering. Use a gentle soap while washing near your catheter to avoid irritating your skin. If you have a suprapubic catheter, it is a good idea to change the drain sponge after showering to keep the catheter insertion site clean and dry.

2. Exercise

Exercise is a critical component of physical and mental health, so patients can rest assured that exercise is possible with a catheter. Reintroduce physical activity to your routine slowly, with gentle exercises such as walking, yoga, or lifting light weights. Make sure your catheter is well secured to avoid accidentally pulling it out during exercise. There are catheter securing devices available for this purpose.

As you get more comfortable exercising with your catheter, you may feel ready to run or even play sports. However, catheter users benefit from staying hydrated, so make sure to drink when exercising.

3. Swim

Many people are surprised to learn that they can swim with a catheter. With the right catheter accessories, such as a catheter valve, a catheter can go unnoticed at the pool. Allow incisions from suprapubic catheters to fully heal before swimming. Additionally, only swim in water that is clean and treated.

4. Sex

Patients with a suprapubic catheter can have sexual intercourse as usual. Urethral catheters are a little more challenging, but many solutions make intercourse possible. For instance, male patients may fold the catheter along the base of the penis and cover both with a condom.

5. Travel

Travelers fly with catheters all of the time, and with a bit of pre-planning, you can travel with a catheter anxiety-free. To ensure your trip goes smoothly, you may want to contact your airline and your airport’s TSA to ask about their specific policies and procedures for patients with catheters. Know that you can request a private screening through TSA. In addition, packing your carry-on and checked bags with extra supplies ensures you have what you need if something goes awry.

Catheter Devices for Everyday Life

Possessing the proper catheter devices can make re-engaging in your regular activities easier. In addition, specially adapted swimwear, undergarments and a variety of drainage bag sizes and options allow catheter patients to resume activities while keeping their catheters secure and discreet. 

Life doesn’t have to stop because you have an indwelling catheter. With the proper supplies and instruction, you can return to the everyday activities you enjoy. 

Disclaimer: Information presented here is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. It is important to seek proper medical advice from a licensed medical professional regarding any of the medical conditions or supply offerings referenced.


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