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Catheter Removal Instructions

The urinary catheter is frequently called a “Foley.” This is because it is named after its inventor, the famous Minnesota Urologist Dr. Frederick Foley. There are many different varieties and sizes, but the basic principles are the same. It is a rubber or silicone drainage tube with retention balloon on the tip. The retention balloon holds it in the bladder so urine can drain out and collect in a collection bag (see diagram below). It is a closed system to decrease the chances of infection developing.

Most patients are able to remove his or her catheter at home.
This is perfectly safe and avoids an unnecessary trip to the office.

Follow these steps to remove it.

  1. Identify the “Balloon Port” at the end of the catheter (see the diagram). It has a colored valve on the end and has several numbers printed on the colored valve. This is the part of the catheter that holds the water in the retention balloon at the tip, which inside your bladder.
  2. Cut the valve off the “Balloon Port”. Do this by cutting the neck of the tube just behind the valve. The valve will come off and water will trickle out of the tube. This is clean water that was inside the balloon at the tip of the catheter.
  3. Wait for all the water to trickle out. When it stops, the balloon inside your bladder has been deflated.
  4. Pull the entire catheter out with a steady pull. Do not jerk it or yank it out – if you do, it will come out but will be more uncomfortable.
  5. Throw all the tubing and the collection bag away.

Tips from experienced patients:

  • Lubricating the catheter with KY jelly helps reduce discomfort.
  • Removing the catheter in the shower with warm water running on you makes it much less uncomfortable (and it make less of a mess). If you do this, we suggest doing it seated to avoid falling or injury.


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