Caring for Your Urinary Drainage Bag | Aeroflow Catheters

Urinary Drainage Bag Care

Urinary drainage bags, like catheters themselves, are delicate pieces of medical equipment. Due to their intimate contact with equally delicate parts of the human body, very strict hygiene regiments need to be practiced when emptying, changing, or doing any other maintenance with them.

Importance of Drainage Bag Care

For patients adjusting to using urinary incontinence products like a catheter system, one of the greatest challenges can be proper, hygienic use and care of their medical devices. If patients do not properly care for their catheter products and practice good sanitation habits, they are at a higher risk of developing infections and other complications. This can not only lead to more serious health risks, but also discourage future use of the products which can dramatically increase a patient’s quality of life. One of the most integral parts of a catheter system which requires frequent care and maintenance is the drainage bag. Drainage bag care can be very simple, but it is essential to the overall health and well being of the catheter system, and its user.

Empty the Drainage Bag Frequently

One of the most important factors in drainage bag care is emptying the bag with appropriate frequency. As the bag becomes more full, its weight and mass increase. This will in turn produce a greater degree of stress on the patient’s sensitive areas. This can lead to irritation and discomfort for the patient, discouraging them from developing good habits with their treatment. In the case of leg bags, a bag becoming overfull also can provide a logistical problem should the patient need to empty the bag when they are at an inconvenient location to do so. In short, drainage bags should not be allowed to become more than half full in most cases, perhaps even less full in the case of smaller leg bags.

Wash your Hands Thoroughly

Beyond simple frequency, it is also necessary for patients to wash their hands both before and after emptying the bag. This will ensure that the bag remains uncontaminated by any bacteria or foreign matter.

Location Matters

It is very important to keep the bag below the height of the patient’s bladder or waist. This will prevent urine from leaving the bag and flowing back to the catheter and into the bladder. The bag should not be allowed to touch any foreign surfaces or objects, particularly the spigot where the urine empties from, as this can contaminate the closed system.

Cleaning the Bag

For general cleaning, rubbing alcohol should be applied to any parts of the drainage bag which are required to be touched after use, particularly in the case of the spigot. For more thorough cleaning, once the bag has been emptied and is not in use, a mixture of water and bleach can be applied to the inside of the bag, taking special care to rinse extremely thoroughly afterwards. With bleach, the ratio should be 1 part bleach per 10 parts water. In cases where the use of bleach is either impractical or considered unsafe, patients can substitute white vinegar in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water ratio. In either case, this mixture should be allowed to agitate and soak within the bag for at least 30 seconds. Make sure the drainage bag has been removed from the patient before using these thorough cleaning methods.

Replacing your Drainage Bag

Even with proper cleaning techniques, patients should not hesitate to change out their urinary drainage bag if any kind of discoloration or other sign of reduced integrity appears. A good rule of thumb for replacing the drainage bag is to do so monthly.

By properly caring for not only their drainage bag but their entire catheter system, patients will dramatically decrease the likelihood of suffering infections and other complications which can compromise catheter system treatments. If you are in need of urinary catheters, fill out our Qualify Through Insurance form to see if you qualify to receive up to 200 catheters at little to no cost, delivered to your home; or call 844-276-5588 to speak to a customer service representative.

Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.

What is an Intermittent Catheter?

What is an Intermittent Catheter

Due to the wide variety of catheterization products available, as well as the myriad of conditions necessitating their use, determining which urinary catheters are right for you can be a complex process. While all urinary catheters can be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance, a patient’s condition determines which style they will be prescribed. Of all the available types of catheters, intermittent catheters are often the most commonly used. Patients who are faced with urinary incontinence or other medical necessities may find themselves asking: Just what is an intermittent catheter?

Intermittent catheters are intended for patients to self-insert through the urethra and into the bladder themselves and used only at the moment a patient is ready to urinate. Medicare covers 200 intermittent, single-use catheters each month. This allotment allows patients to relieve themselves multiple times throughout the day, while still allowing extra catheters should any difficulties with insertion arise. By using intermittent catheters, patients will experience increased comfort between urinary events and a decreased likelihood of urinary tract infections or other complications.

Choosing the right Intermittent Catheter

The difficulty with catheter insertion is one of the most common barriers to not only frequent catheterization but also adherence to prescribed treatment plans set up by patient doctors. In light of this, Aeroflow Healthcare recommends that patients use a hydrophilic intermittent catheter when it comes to choosing the right intermittent catheter. Hydrophilic catheters are lubricated with sterile water rather than gel, more closely mimicking our body’s own natural fluids and allowing for easier clean up by the patient. This produces greater ease of catheter insertion, helping encourage patients to use their catheters as often as their prescription recommends, preserving their health and the integrity of their treatment.

Beyond the normal straight tip intermittent catheter, there are also Coude tip catheters, which have a slight curve or bend to the tip. Coude tip Catheters can help patients with prostate issues thread the catheter past the prostate or in the event of urethra narrowing or blockages. A diagnosed medical need to using a straight tip catheter must be demonstrated in order for Medicare to cover the Coude tip. Patients must work closely with their doctor in order to provide the correct documentation that this type of catheter is right for their specific needs.

How to get Intermittent Catheters

By adhering to the guidance of their medical professional, patients properly utilizing intermittent catheters can see a dramatic increase in quality of life. If you are suffering from urinary incontinence or other conditions that may require the use of intermittent catheters, fill out our Qualify Through Insurance form or call toll free 844-276-5588 to see if Aeroflow Healthcare can help you get the catheters you need at little to no cost. You can learn more about Intermittent Catheters and the other styles of catheters. With the assistance of Aeroflow and your diagnosing medical physician, we can help you make an informed decision about which intermittent catheter is right for you.

Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.

What is Purple Bag Syndrome, and How To Prevent It

What is Purple Bag Syndrome, and How To Prevent It

If you're catheterized and recently checked on your urinary bag to notice a distinct purple hue to the contents, don't be alarmed. While rare, there is an explanation as to why your urine has changed color, and ways to help prevent this from happening again.

Purple Bag Syndrome typically occurs in individuals on long-term urinary catheterization and is related to a urinary tract infection. When certain types of bacteria cause a urinary tract infection, they can react with the breakdown of tryptophan (the same stuff found in turkey, and many other foods) in your digestive system, and the resulting reaction causes the purple discoloration.

While the sight of Purple Bag Syndrome may be alarming, there is no immediate cause to be worried or concerned. Typically, it is harmless and does not indicate any larger issue.

In order to prevent Purple Bag Syndrome, it is very important to regularly change and properly take care of all catheters and drainage bags to prevent the future growth of bacteria. Proper sanitation and maintenance of your medical supplies will help prevent not only Purple Bag Syndrome, but also promote a healthier life.

Sometimes other symptoms, such as constipation, follow Purple Bag Syndrome, and should be treated accordingly. Even though Purple Bag Syndrome is a benign reaction to bacteria and tryptophan, it may be beneficial to inform your healthcare provider so that they can check for any underlying concerns.

Whether you need an indwelling catheter, intermittent catheter, or external catheter, Aeroflow is here for you. Our staff will work with your insurance to find the best supplies to fit your needs in accordance to your doctor's notes.

Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.

Tips for Catheter Care

Adjusting to the use of catheters for urinary incontinence can be difficult. However, the benefits of such implements far outweigh the negatives, as diligence and proper application and care of your catheters can lead to a dramatic increase in quality of life.

Catheter Sanitation

One of the primary challenges of catheter use is practicing proper sanitation to minimize the risks of infection, rashes, and other uncomfortable or dangerous complications. The first line of defense in catheter sanitation is changing your catheter with appropriate frequency. Medicare allows for up to 200 intermittent catheters per month. With 200 catheters, you can cath at least 6 times a day and still have extra catheters at the end of the month. When you frequently change your catheter, you ensure the catheter is clean and sterile. Sterile catheters dramatically decrease urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

One of the primary sources of complications doesn't come from the catheter. Inadequate cleaning of the bands and the area around the catheter contributes to most complications. Since replacing catheters can introduce dirt and bacteria into your body, it is very important to thoroughly sterilize the area around the catheter at every possible opportunity. Frequent hand washing with mild soap and warm water is the first line of defense. Clean hands preserve the catheter's sterility and keep bacteria out of your body.

Using a New Catheter

When opening new catheters, preserve their sterility by keeping them contained in their sterile wrapping until the application, and be careful not to place new sterile catheters on any contaminated surface. Aeroflow Healthcare recommends that you use hydrophilic catheters. Hydrophilic catheters are coated with sterile saline, as opposed to the sterile water used in standard indwelling catheters. This can provide a greater degree of overall sanitation, but more importantly, a much higher level of comfort when inserting the catheter. Because saline mimics the natural membranes and lubricants our body, you experience less difficulty with catheterization.

By practicing good hygiene and sanitation habits, you will be much less likely to experience any complications arising from catheter use. If you are experiencing any adverse health conditions which require the use of indwelling or external catheters, get your free catheter sample today to see how your quality of life can be measurably improved.

Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.