Catheters and Catheter care





Some types of surgery for penile cancer will require a catheter (urinary drainage tube) to be inserted. This will need to remain in place for several days. The information below is designed to help with its management.

A catheter is a plastic tube that drains urine from the bladder. It will be connected to a leg drainage bag which can be left in place for up to a week. A bigger bag can be attached to the leg bag for drainage at night. The catheter is held inside the bladder by a small balloon that is inflated with sterile water following insertion. It will therefore not usually come out unless properly removed by deflating the balloon. The balloon tends to rest over a sensitive area of nerves in the bladder which may be affected by its presence and these nerves are connected to nerves in the penile area. This irritation may make a man feel as if he needs to pass urine urgently and sometimes force a small amount of urine from around the catheter. Using a strap or tape to fix the join of the catheter to the thigh or top of the leg to prevent it from pulling or dragging may be of help.

  • Men should clean around the penis as instructed by the specialist team and should avoid any toiletries which may cause skin irritation and delay the healing process.
  • The catheter should not be pulled or tugged.
  • It is very important to drink 2 – 3 litres of fluid daily to flush the urine through and water based drinks tend to prevent bacteria forming which will help prevent urinary infection.
  • When emptying or connecting catheter bags hands should always be washed thoroughly with soap and water before and after the procedure


Last reviewed 07/02/2019 Next review due August 2019.

References available on request.

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