Common bladder and bowel problems

A catheter is a flexible tube inserted through a narrow opening into a body cavity, usually the bladder, for removing fluid such as urine. Your health care professional may recommend you use a catheter if you have urinary incontinence (leaking urine or being unable to control when you urinate).

Whether you have an indwelling, intermittent or suprapubic catheter for a few days, weeks, or long-term, we've pulled together the answers to some common questions around catheters.

Please note the information supplied is general in nature and you should consult your medical practioner for individual advice.

Not sure if you're using the right catheter? Why not talk to our urology and continence nurse to get some expert advice. The advice is free to help you (or your loved one) manage your condition better. Click here to leave us your details. 

FAQs about catheters

I'm wearing a catheter for the first time. How long can I leave it in before I need to change it?

Can I re-use my catheter? If I can, how do I clean and sterilise it?

How do you know if I'm wearing a catheter properly?

How can I reduce the chance of infection with my catheter?

Is it normal to have pain in your penis while a catheter is in?

What are the risks of wearing a catheter?

Can I exercise and travel with my catheter in place?

How do I know if there's a problem with my catheter?

When I catheterise sometimes I have a small trace of blood in the tip. Why?

I have an indwelling catheter. Sometimes I have urine leakage. Would a bigger catheter stop this?

A friend told me that there was a tap available that could be connected to my catheter so that I don't have to wear a drainage bag. Why didn't I get told about them when I had my catheter inserted?

We also answer frequently asked questions about general incontinence, condom drainage and disposable pads.

Please note the information supplied is general in nature. Please consult your medical practioner for individual advice.