What are the Advantages of a Suprapubic Catheter
If you need to have a catheter fitted on a long term basis there are two ways in which it may be inserted; via the urethra or via an incision through the abdomen directly into the bladder. The latter is known as a suprapubic catheter.
There are a number of advantages that a suprapubic catheter offers over a urethral catheter – let’s discuss what these are.
A Suprapubic Catheter is Easier to Change
Suprapubic catheters are easier to change due to the direct access point through the skin into the bladder; no having to navigate through the urethra! In time, you or a family member may be taught how to insert the catheter which will make the whole process seem less invasive than with a urethral catheter.
Removes the Risk of Urethral Trauma
One of the biggest risks of a catheter is the trauma it can inflict on the delicate urethral tissue. Suprapubic catheters bypass the urethra so this risk is reduced. Further more, a suprapubic catheter is less likely to be sat on or accidentally tugged or pulled which makes it a more comfortable option for the user also.
A Suprapubic Catheter is Less Likely to Block
Regardless of whether a catheter is inserted via the urethra or suprapubic incision there is still the risk that minerals and salts in the urine could crystalise. This could cause encrustations to block the eyelets or catheter channel. That said, with suprapubic catheters you can normally use a larger charriere size, which is less prone to blocking.
Less Risk of Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs)
Studies have shown that suprapubic catheters are less likely to cause a CAUTI than urethral catheters. This is because there is reduced contact with genitalia prior to the catheter being introduced to the bladder.
A Suprapubic Catheter is Easier for Your Sex Life
Whilst sex with a urethral catheter is possible, a suprapubic catheter makes sexual activity easier due to the catheter not being in the way. If you normally wear a leg bag consider using a valve and surgical tape to fixate it to the abdomen during intercourse. Alternatively, using a night drainage bag on a night stand next to the bed will ensure it is out of the way.
Whilst suprapubic catheters might be subject to less pulling and tugging than a urethral catheter it is still important to fixate! You can use a longer catheter retaining strap around the abdomen to do this or use an adhesive based fixation device.