What is a suprapubic catheter?

A suprapubic catheter is a type of catheter which is surgically inserted via the lower abdomen and allows urine to drain from the bladder. This procedure for inserting a suprapubic catheter can be done under general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic or epidural anaesthetic. 

How does it stay in place?

A suprapubic catheter stays in place the same way as a urethral catheter. Once inserted, the catheter balloon is inflated with a small volume of sterile water. You won’t be able to feel this happening as the end of the catheter will already be in your bladder. Once the balloon is inflated, this prevents it from being pulled out. When it’s time for the catheter to be removed, this balloon is simply deflated using an empty syringe, allowing the catheter to be removed from your body.   

What products are needed by someone living with a suprapubic catheter?

Exactly the same products as someone living with a urethral catheter! When any urinary catheter is left unsecured, there’s a risk of pain, trauma and infection. This is why it’s really important that all catheters are well-supported using the right fixation accessories.

Our Ugo Fix Catheter Strap can be used to support suprapubic catheters (as well as urethral catheters and urinary sheaths) and can either be used to secure the leg bag tubing, or the catheter tubing itself. The Ugo Fix Gentle uses soft, skin-friendly silicone technology to provide gentle securement and the catheter bifurcation (the part at the end of the catheter where it splits into two sections). The Ugo Fix Sleeve (leg bag holder) may also be used if the suprapubic catheter is attached to a leg bag.

The drainage bags used for a suprapubic catheter are the same as the drainage bags used for a catheter inserted into the urethra. Shop Optimum provides Ugo Leg Bags in a range of tube lengths, giving you the preference as to where you’d like to wear your leg bag. Some people choose to use a catheter valve instead of a leg bag as they find it more discreet. These can also be used with suprapubic catheters. However, just because there isn’t a leg bag attached, the catheter still needs to be appropriately secured.

A 2L drainage bag can be attached for overnight urinary drainage and this should be supported by a drainage bag stand or hanger.

Why would someone have a suprapubic catheter?

Urinary catheters are needed by people who are unable to empty their bladders. Many people who need to live with a long term, indwelling catheter find that a suprapubic catheter is preferable to a urethral catheter. There’s a lower risk of infection and many people also find them more comfortable. As a suprapubic catheter bypasses the sexual organs, it can also be ideal for people wanting to maintain a sexual relationship. However, this is still possible with a urethral catheter, for men and women. If you have any questions about having sex whilst using a catheter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer care team at hello@shop-optimum.com and they’ll be able to provide you with plenty of advice on how to go about doing this safely.

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