The Rise of Suprapubic Catheters
Over the past 50 years, catheters have grown dramatically since establishing their place in the international medical device market. As the market matures, there are news players in the catheter realm. In this post, we’ll cover the suprapubic catheter. So what is a suprapubic catheter? Keep reading to find out more!
What is a Suprapubic Catheter?
A suprapubic catheter is your standard catheter, but it’s slightly changed to fit where it’s inserted. It’s also the odd bunch out of the catheters, as they are used way less frequently than standard intermittent or indwelling catheters. Usually, this catheter type is used for individuals who have or had prostate cancer, and the urethra has developed significant scar tissue. As seen in people with Bladder Exstrophy, a suprapubic catheter is a solution if the urethra is too deformed or is healing after surgery.
The catheter is meant to go a few inches below your belly button, but above the pubic bone. In order to insert a suprapubic catheter, a cut is made a few inches below your belly button over the bladder. Then, the catheter is fed through this incision into the bladder, where it can now release urine into either a bag or straight into the toilet. The suprapubic catheter can be recommended by doctors for a variety of reasons. However, doctors, when necessary, revert to the suprapubic catheter, as it is inserted into a hole which can heal over time, as well as allowing the urethra and the rest of the genital system to rest.
Can you Urinate if you have a Suprapubic Catheter?
It depends. If the catheter is short-term (4 weeks to 3 months), then yes. You usually can go back to urinating normally after the catheter has been removed. If a suprapubic catheter has been inserted and is not meant to be there for many months or years, it is most likely there to allow the urethra to heal or to grow correctly after a surgery. If the suprapubic catheter is meant to be there for an extended period of time (over 3 months and up), it is more unlikely that the user will be able to go back to urinating via urethra on their own.
How do you change a Suprapubic Catheter?
Following the first catheter being put in place, your suprapubic catheter will need to be changed around every 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the brand, the doctor, and the patient’s situation. If the catheter stays in longer than the recommended time, it’s a lot easier to get infections. Once the incision area has healed and you are allowed by your urologist to change yourself, here are some steps you need to follow:
Sterilize: One of the most important steps is making sure everything you will need is clean. So, that means making sure the catheter is clean, the insertion site is clean, and your hands are clean.
Lubricate: Make sure your catheter tip and most of the catheter is lubricated. This will make the insertion experience much more comfortable and will make less-experienced catheter users feel much more confident in a suprapubic catheter.
- Slow and Steady: As you begin to feed the catheter tip into the hole you need to take it slow and be gentle with the amount of force when inserting. If the user is not cautious, poor catheter insertion can lead to damage in the bladder lining, which can lead to pain and other issues.
- Clean-up: In order to prevent future issues, you need to clean up, especially if the catheter changing is in your bathroom. Urine can miss the toilet during the process, so any waste needs to be cleaned up.
How should you care for your Catheter?
- Draining: As you go about your day, it is important you check out how your catheter feels, and also when it is time to drain. Always wash your hands before and after you drain.
- Diet: To prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other infections, make sure you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily. This will lower the risk of constipation, while also keeping your bladder healthy.
- Water: Make sure you are drinking water every day. While it is beneficial that you drink other nutritional juices, water is necessary to making the draining experience as accident free as possible. This will keep both your bladder and catheter working correctly. Also, the water will allow the kidneys to flush themselves out, leading to a lower risk of UTIs.
- Irrigation: When it comes to irrigation, the angle is key. After draining your catheter to the best of your ability, take a syringe full of saline and insert it into the catheter. Slowly release the saline into the catheter. Make sure you are sitting at a 30-45 degree angle. This will allow for the saline to clean the catheter the best.
Indwelling Catheter vs. Suprapubic Catheter
As you delve deeper into the world of catheters, you will begin to discover some confusing terms that mean the same thing but are different at the same time! One such situation is the difference between an indwelling catheter and a suprapubic catheter. So, time to clear up the air:
- Indwelling Catheter: Placed via the urethra or through a cut anywhere on the bladder. This can be above, below, to the left or to the right of the belly button.
- Suprapubic Catheter: Placed strictly above the pubic bone a few inches below the belly button.
The only difference between these two products is where their location on the bladder. Suprapubic does not go into the urethra, automatically differing itself.
What are Foley Catheters?
There is also the Foley catheter, whose name is tossed around between suprapubic and intermittent catheters. The Foley catheter is a type of catheter that can be used in any form of insertion. Along with having a main drainage system, it also has a special attachment for bags outside the body and syringes to irrigate the catheter. This means it can go through the urethra, through an incision in the belly button, or through a stoma.
The Foley catheter is a type of catheter used in both of these insertion methods. However, the Foley catheter is specifically for longer-term usages, usually ranging from 28 days to 3 months.
What Happens after using a Suprapubic Catheter?
If the patient does not permanently use suprapubic catheters, they often switching to intermittent catheters. They have to change more frequently, but it’s a lot easier to take care of the insertion site. However, most intermittent catheters are big, hard to use, easy to see, and can get dirty easily. This can make self-cathers reluctant to bring their catheters out into the public, which can lead to other issues.
Thankfully, the future has arrived, just a little smaller. CompactCath eliminates all possible worries when it comes to self-cathing in public. Not only is the CompactCath portable, but it’s easy to use. It’s made out of state-of-the-art PVC plastic that will not kink when coiled. It also comes pre-lubricated, so the hassle and mess of lubrication is not even a concern. Finally, CompactCath comes with funnel-control, leading to minimal urine spill and mess, all while fitting in your pocket.
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