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Suprapubic Catheter: A Comprehensive Guide

Kevin Cleary

Key Takeaways

  • A suprapubic catheter helps drain urine from your bladder through your abdomen.
  • It does require regular flushing in order to prevent blockages.
  • A suprapubic catheter is inserted through an incision in your abdomen and does not require insertion through your urethra.
  • These catheters can be more comfortable than others that are inserted through the urethra.
  • Suprapubic catheters can be an option for those who can’t use standard urethra catheters, and HPFY has plenty of options to help.


I’m sure you’ve heard the term catheter, but what is a suprapubic catheter? No, it’s not some type of superhero. This type of catheter is inserted through a small incision in the lower abdomen and does not require insertion through the urethra. This type of catheter operates just like any other and drains urine, typically into a bag. Often, they are used by those who can’t urinate on their own. I may be able to give you some information to determine if a suprapubic catheter is right for you.

Uses of Suprapubic Catheters

We have established that catheters are used to help drain urine from our bodies. Typically, a catheter is inserted through the urethra into the bladder, but a suprapubic catheter is placed into the bladder through a small incision in the abdomen. This type of procedure typically is quick, less than 20 minutes. Often, suprapubic catheters are used when other methods are not feasible, undesired, or impossible and are easier to change, not to mention more comfortable for male patients with long-term catheterization needs. Suprapubic catheters may be an option if you have:

  • A damaged or injured urethra plate
  • Surgery to the bladder, prostate, or other organs
  • Weakened pelvic floor muscles that cause catheters to fallout
  • Long-term catheterization
  • Sexually active individuals with catheter needs for long periods of time
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis

Recovery time from suprapubic catheter surgery is pretty quick. Pain, swelling, or bruising from the surgery should go away after a few weeks. One of the benefits of a suprapubic catheter is when long-term catheterization is required. Since they are more comfortable and easier to empty, they may be the better option. These instances can’t include:

  • Bladder blockages that can’t be corrected by surgery
  • Long-term incontinence that may damage skin and cause infection
  • Terminal illnesses where bed changes may be difficult

Living with a suprapubic catheter still means you can lead an active life. Everyday activities such as driving, working, and even exercising should still be doable. You can even swim, as long as the water is clean!!


Suprapubic Catheter Maintenance

If you’re considering a suprapubic catheter, your number one question might be, “How do I take care of one?” Long-term catheterization does involve the risk of infection, so having a daily care plan is important. A self-care plan may include:

  • Always wash your hands when handling your catheter
  • Clean around your catheter with soap and water
  • Keep the drainage bag lower than your bladder to prevent backing up
  • Empty the drain bag when full or every 8 hours
  • Clean the bag every day after removing it from the catheter. Fill the bag with 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts water and let stand for 20 minutes. Empty and let air dry.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Any home catheter care plan is only as good as your compliance. If you are diligent in your daily care, problems should be few and far between. You should seek medical attention if:

  • The catheter is blocked, and no urine collects in a drainage bag
  • Catheter leakage
  • Blood in urine
  • Lower back pain (a.k.a. flank pain)
  • Fever, chills, or belly pain

Always communicate with your physician or urologist if you should experience anything that seems out of the norm. Cloudy or bad-smelling urine can be a sign of a UTI that may need treatment.

Where to buy suprapubic catheters online?

HPFY has been online since 2002. We carry a wide range of catheters and other urological supplies. Explore our catalog today to find all that you need to manage your condition. 



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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