Foley Catheter FAQ
What is a Foley Catheter?
A Foley catheter is a small tube that is placed in your bladder to drain your urine. The end in your bladder has a small balloon. The other end is connected to a bag that collects the urine.
How does it work?
Your nurse inserts the Foley. This is done with sterile techniques. When the Foley is in your bladder, the nurse will blow up the balloon on the end with 10ml of water. This balloon keeps the catheter in your bladder. At the tip of the Foley, there is a small hole that allows the urine to drain.
Why do I have one?
There are many reasons why you may have a Foley. These may include:
- Pain medicine through a tube in your back (epidural)
- Injury to any part of the urinary tract
- A way to keep track of your exact urine output
How should I care for it daily?
The site should be cleaned with soap and water daily. Keeping the area clean will help prevent infection
How long will I have it in?
It will depend on the reason why you have the Foley in the first place. If you have an epidural for pain control, the Foley will be taken out after the epidural is turned off. Trauma to the urinary tract may cause you to have a Foley for a longer time, to allow your urinary tract to heal.
What happens when the Foley comes out?
This is simple and quick. The nurse simply removes the 10ml of water that is holding the Foley in place. Then, the Foley slides right out. The nurse will give you 6 hours to void on your own. If that doesn’t happen, your bladder will be scanned. From there, your doctor will decide what to do.
Are there any complications?
One possible complication is urethral trauma that happens when the Foley is put in. The most common complication is a urinary tract infection (UTI). The Foley is a source of infection because it is a foreign object inside your body. If you get a UTI, you will receive antibiotics and the Foley will be changed or removed.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/09/2010
Copyright © 02/05/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6903
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