Urinary Catheters and Catheter care




Urinary Catheters

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 November 2019. Next review due November 2020.

References available on request.

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