What how frequently should the bladder be drained with intermittent catheterization for urinary incontinence?

Updated: Mar 19, 2019
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

The bladder must be drained on a regular basis, either based on a timed interval (eg, on awakening, every 3-6 hours during the day, and before bed) or based on bladder volume. The average adult bladder holds approximately 400-500 mL of urine, and ideally, the amount drained each time should not exceed 400-500 mL.

This drainage limit may require decreasing the fluid intake or increasing the frequency of catheterizations. For example, if catheterization is being performed every 6 hours and the amount drained is 700 mL, increase the frequency of catheterization to, perhaps, every 4 hours to maintain the volume drained at 400-500 mL.

The idea is to simulate normal voiding. Usually, the average adult empties the bladder 4-5 times a day. Thus, catheterization should occur 4 or 5 times a day; however, individual catheterization schedules may vary, depending on the amount of fluid taken in during the day.


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