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What are the Causes of a Blocked Catheter?

Catheter blockages are a common complication of an indwelling catheter. Here we look at the common underlying reason for a blocked catheter, the signs & symptoms and what you can do about it.

Why do Catheters get Blocked?

foley catheter; urinary catheter; suprapubic catheter; catheterisation; blocked catheter

Urine contains minerals and salts which can crystalise and cause encrustations to form within the catheter or its eyelets. Such build up can cause the catheter to block; preventing urine from draining through it effectively.

How can you Tell if you Have a Blocked Catheter?

blocked catheter; catheter bypassing; catheter leaking

If you see that your catheter is bypassing, with urine leaking around the catheter, this is one sign that your catheter may be blocked. Another indicator is if there is very little in the way of urine draining into your catheter bag. This would suggest that you are retaining urine as it is unable to flow through the catheter as it normally would.

How do you Clear a Blocked Catheter?

catheterisation; catheter insertion; indwelling catheter; foley catheter; suprapubic catheter; blocked catheter

If you think your catheter is blocked, speak to your healthcare professional.

A bladder washout might be used to “flush” the catheter and remove the build up causing the blockage. You might be advised to routinely use bladder washouts to prevent the catheter blocking. If the washout fails to clear the blockage you will normally have the catheter changed.

What are the Risks Associated with Catheter Blockages?

A blocked catheter can lead to urinary retention which has a number of complications including urinary infection, loss of bladder tone and kidney damage if the urine backs up into your kidneys.

Other Articles you may be Interested in:

Why is my Catheter Leaking?

GB Cath Kit; What’s in the Box?

Why is my Catheter Bag Purple?


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What are the Causes of a Blocked Catheter?