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Tips on Caring for Catheters

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Catheters are devices that aid in the removal of the fluids in the body. Urinary catheters are often used for a variety of medical conditions that interfere with the normal urination process. Medical news sources report that these conditions can often include incontinence, prostate enlargement, and infections of portions of the urinary system. Whether catheters are temporary or being used on a long-term basis, certain procedures should be taken to ensure that the device is properly cared for. This will help prevent additional problems with catheters.

Keeping the area clean around the insertion point of the catheter tube is required for proper care. Recommended care procedures provided by most medical news and information sources suggest cleaning the insertion area twice per day with soap and water. After washing, the area should be rinsed well and dried properly. Careful attention should be made to keep from pulling on the catheter tube. Also, powders or lotions should not be used on the area.

In addition to cleaning the insertion area, special care in regards to diet should be followed. If the caring physician prescribed a specific diet, then it should be followed as directed. The patient should drink plenty of fluids to encourage urine production and prevent constipation. Most experts recommend that between eight to ten glasses of water or fruit juice should be consumed each day. Also, fruits and other high fiber foods should be eaten to help prevent constipation.

Part of the care of catheters requires remaining aware of potential problems or hazards that may arise with the catheter. Patients should be on the look out for changes in the color of urine. If it becomes discolored, cloudy or appears to have blood clots, then a doctor should be notified immediately. Also, any new pain in the abdomen, back, pelvic area, or legs could be cause for concern. Other potential signs of complications include the onset of fever or chills, the urine developing a foul odor, or if the insertion site becomes inflamed or irritated. Upon the observance of any of these symptoms, the patient should contact their physician to report the occurrence.

As with any medical condition, patients should strictly follow the instructions of their physician. Any cleaning instructions, dietary orders, or other recommendations by the doctor should be adhered to in place of the commonly used practices listed here. Proper care of catheters is critical to the success of the procedure and the prevention of future complications.

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