How are bladder infection from catheters for urinary incontinence prevented?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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The urinary drainage bag does not need to be disinfected routinely to prevent infection. A dilute vinegar solution can be used to dissolve the encrustations that tend to form in the drainage bags.

Routine irrigation of catheters is not required. However, some authors favor the use of 0.25% acetic acid irrigation because it is bacteriostatic, minimizes catheter encrustation, and reduces odor. When used, 30 mL is instilled into the bladder and allowed to freely drain twice per day.

Similarly, 30 mL of hydrogen peroxide can be added to the drainage bags immediately before connecting them to the Foley catheter. This supposedly reduces odor and bacterial growth by using a safe, nontoxic, and inexpensive agent.

Patients do not have to be taking continuous antibiotics while using the catheter. In fact, continuous use of antibiotics while a catheter is used is contraindicated. Prolonged use of antibiotics to prevent infection actually may cause paradoxical generation of bacteria that are resistant to common antibiotics.

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