For some, regular trips to the bathroom may prove difficult or even impossible. Disease, old age, a temporary condition or psychological problems can all limit proper waste functions. In those cases, a person may have a catheter inserted and attached to a urine bag, which collects the fluid in a clean, quick and inconspicuous way. Although numerous styles, sizes and types are available, the most common models are leg bags, which fasten securely to the leg and rest on the thigh. When properly educated, carrying and maintaining a urine bag makes it a useful tool in regaining mobility and quality of life.
The urine bag collects urine through use of a catheter, which is a long, narrow tube that inserts through the urethra and directly into the bladder. Although a catheter tube should only be inserted and removed by a professional, care is up to the patient. The tubing should be disconnected from the urine bag as little as possible and only as cleanly as possible. Any exposure to germs or microbes, even for a short period of time, can lead to a urinary tract infection, which is both painful and potentially dangerous. Hands should always be immaculately cleaned before adjusting the tube, and the exposed end should also be carefully washed.
Although the capacity of the urine bag can hold virtually any amount of urine the bladder can produce, the increased weight can tug at the catheter tube. In some cases, this can lead to the tube actually being removed from the body. Those wearing these bags must be careful to prevent overfilling the bag by emptying it whenever possible, usually by released a small opening. These bags are convenient enough to be emptied into any public or private restroom quickly and cleanly. Also, they should be worn as high on the thigh as possible, since the longer the catheter tube, the easier it is to kink and constrict the urine flow, a potentially nightmarish situation.
Health news shares many stories of those receiving severe infections from improper maintenance of urine bags. First, the bag itself should be rinsed after every use. A simple solution of water and vinegar kills any build up of bacteria and odor in the bag. Although some bags have individual instructions and supplies needed for care, it only takes a few minutes to ensure proper maintenance and a painless use of the urine bag.