Intermittent Catheters: Avoiding Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common problem among urology patients. They occur when outside particles are introduced into the bladder that do not normally exist there. This can include things like bacteria and yeasts. According to one study, the prevalence of urinary tract infections among all adults in home care settings, as of 2017, was about 1.5%.

Consequently, it is very important to take proper precautions when using any type of indwelling catheter. Below we’ll discuss the signs of infection, and ways to protect yourself from CAUTIs, including cutting-edge products designed to remove much of the risk and worry that can come with intermittent catheterization. 

Common Symptoms

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) occur when bacteria or other germs travel along the catheter and cause an infection in the bladder. In severe cases, this infection can extend to the kidneys, or occasionally the bloodstream. They can also be more difficult to treat with common antibiotics than traditional urinary tract infections.

The National Library of Medicine reports the following symptoms are commonly seen in cases of catheter-associated urinary tract infection:

  • Strong urge to urinate/Frequent urination
  • Dark urine
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever (may indicate the infection has spread to the kidneys)
  • Spasms in lower belly or back
  • Vomiting

If you are a catheter user and experience any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. 

Risk Factors

Anyone who suffers from a chronic illness, notably diabetes, and people who are malnourished or otherwise in frail health, are at a higher risk of developing a catheter-associated UTI. Other common risk factors, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are immunity impairments, history of chronic UTIs, and advanced age.

Other personal factors that stem from general poor health can contribute to the risk of CAUTI, including lack of exercise, chronic dehydration and poor personal hygiene. Addressing these everyday factors, if possible, can help mitigate the likelihood of contracting a UTI. 

CAUTI Prevention

Pre-insertion contamination is, by far, the biggest reason intermittent cath users contract UTIs. Many catheters currently on the market, despite their sterile packaging, are prone to this because of the need for lubrication. Even when sterile lube packets and gloves are used – even when the user’s hands are constantly washed and sterilized – the process of preparing a standard, dry catheter for insertion simply presents too many contamination opportunities to be completely safe. 

Enter Hydrophilic catheters. Being pre-lubricated in the package, they are designed to solve this problem. Even better are hydrophilic touch-free catheters, which eliminate any need for the hands to come into contact with the catheter itself. Touch-free caths, like Hollister’s Vapro line, create the safest insertion condition possible.

Still other products cater to lifestyle in addition to medical necessity. Female catheter users have largely been an underserved market. In general, women are 14 times more likely to develop a UTI than men. And their catheter needs are also different than men’s. 

It’s only natural that a touch-free, hydrophilic intermittent catheter would be developed with the female market specifically in mind. Hollister’s Infyna Chic was designed with input from clinicians to help meet the safety and discretion needs of women. Its attractive packaging provides for quick, covert use and disposal. All while integrating the latest advancements in UTI prevention.

Please Feel Free…

…to contact Medical Monks with any questions and concerns you have about your current catheter, purchasing a new catheter, or your risks for developing a catheter-associated UTI.  

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