glass with water pouring in

How Often Should You Change Leg or Bedside Urinary Bags?

Maintaining a urinary catheter system can seem overwhelming at first. This article will help you learn how often you need to empty, clean and change the urine collection bag connected to your catheter. Whether you use a leg bag, a bedside bag or alternate between the two, these tips can improve your experience.

What Is a Urinary Catheter?

A urinary catheter is any device that helps a person drain their bladder when they cannot do so independently because of injury, surgery or disease. Indwelling catheters, also known as Foley catheters, feature a tiny balloon at the insertion tip that is filled with liquid to keep the catheter in place for long periods. These are used by men, women and children, and they are attached to a bag that collects the urine and must be emptied periodically. 

Another type of cath that is frequently attached to a collection bag is the Male external catheter. These are disposable options that fit over the penis like a condom to empty the bladder as needed. Intermittent catheters, on the other hand, are inserted when the bladder needs to be emptied, then removed. Generally, intermittent caths are drained directly into the toilet rather than a collection bag.

Emptying, Cleaning and Changing Urinary Bags

A leg bag is a urine collection device secured to the wearer’s thigh and attached to an indwelling or external catheter. These options are worn discreetly under the clothing and allow for activity during the day. Some leg bag cleaning and changing tips include:

• Empty the bedside bag every morning, or at least every eight hours.
• The bag should be emptied when it is one-third to half full.
• Do not let the bedside bag fill to its capacity, as fluid may backup into the bladder.
• Clean your bedside catheter bag every day in the same manner as you clean your leg bag.
• Replace your bedside bag about twice a month or per your healthcare provider’s instructions.

The Bardia Bed Side Drainage Bag features two hanging options, an anti-reflux valve to prevent backflow and latex-free vinyl construction.

General Tips for Indwelling Catheters:

• Always wash your hands before handling, emptying or replacing your collection bag.
• Never touch the tip of the bag’s drainage spout to avoid contamination.
• Keep the urine bag below the level of your bladder at all times, including when you are lying down.
• Do not go to bed or take long naps while wearing a leg bag.

Call your healthcare professional immediately if you have these signs or symptoms:

• Your urine is cloudy, foul-smelling or pink
• You develop a fever greater than 101°F
• Your catheter is leaking
• No urine has drained from your bladder in six to eight hours
• You develop pain, burning, swelling or redness in your urethra, bladder or lower back

Related Videos

More Blogs

Top Urology Products