Urine Drainage Leg Bag Care (2023)

The Foley catheter is a tube that helps drain urine from the bladder. It is used by some patients who have had urological or gynecological surgery, or who have a condition that makes urination difficult.

Urine Drainage Leg Bag Care (1)

The urinary (Foley) catheter is placed into the bladder through the urethra, the opening through which urine passes. The catheter is held in place in the bladder by a small, water-filled balloon. In order to collect the urine that drains through the catheter, the catheter is connected to a bag. It is either a regular (large bag) drainage bag or a small leg bag.

(Video) How to care for your urinary drainage bag

If you have a urinary (Foley) catheter, you will use the larger drainage bag at night while you are sleeping. You can use the leg bag during the day.

Attaching or removing a leg bag

The leg bag is attached to your leg and allows you to move around more easily. Because the bag is hidden under your clothes, it may also make you feel more comfortable about the catheter.

Urine Drainage Leg Bag Care (2)

(Video) Foley Catheter and Drainage Bag Care, Male - Patient Eduction, #cna

To attach or remove a leg bag, you will need the following materials:

  • Clean leg bag(s).
  • Leg straps or tape.
  • Cotton balls and alcohol pads.
  • White vinegar.
  • Water and a towel.
  • Regular (large) drainage bag.

To attach or remove the leg bag:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds.
  • Empty the large drainage bag. The different types of drainage bags open in different ways: a drain spout that you remove from its sleeve, a clamp that you open to the side, or an opening that you twist. Whichever method you use, be sure to not touch the tip when you let the urine flow out of the large drainage bag into the container or toilet.
  • Place a towel under the connection between the catheter and the bag.
  • Pinch off the soft rubber tube (the catheter tube) so that urine doesn't leak out.
  • Disconnect the urinary (Foley) catheter tube from the current large drainage bag with a twisting motion. Keep pinching the soft rubber tube (the catheter tube) so that urine does not leak out.
  • Be careful not to pull on the catheter. Place the old large drainage bag on the towel.
  • Prepare to place the leg bag in the catheter tube from which you just disconnected the large drainage bag. Remove the protective coating from the tip of the leg bag drainage tube. (Save this tip to use later when you change back). Clean the tip with an alcohol pad, wiping away from the opening to avoid getting the tube dirty. Insert the tip in the catheter tube.
  • Fasten the straps of the leg bag to your thigh. Secure the catheter itself to your leg with tape. Be sure to leave some slack in the catheter so that you don't put too much pressure on the bladder, urethra, and other parts of the body. Don't fasten the straps on the leg bag too tightly to your leg, as that may interfere with your circulation. If the leg strap gets dirty, wash it with soap and water.

Emptying the leg bag

Please note that because a leg bag is smaller than a regular drainage bag, it will have to be emptied more frequently.

(Video) Skill 10 Emptying a Urinary Drainage bag

  • Empty the leg bag when it is half-full, or at least twice a day.
  • Place a large plastic or metal container on the floor next to you. You may also empty the urine into the toilet. The nurse may give you a container to use at home.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • The different types of drainage bags open in different ways: a drain spout that you remove from its sleeve, a clamp that you open to the side, or an opening that you twist. Whichever method you use, be sure to not touch the tip when you let the urine flow out of the urine bag into the container or toilet.
  • When the bag is empty, close the clamp or twist on the cap on the leg bag.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Write down how much urine was in your bag, if your caregivers have asked you to keep a record.

It is a good idea to occasionally change your leg bag from one leg to the other. The best time to do this is right after you shower.

Cleaning the bag

  • When you are ready to go to sleep, change out the leg bag and put on the drainage bag. Rinse out the leg bag with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. Soak the bag for 20 minutes. Rinse the bag out with warm water and hang it up to dry.
  • In the morning, take off the drainage bag, put on the leg bag, and clean out the drainage bag the same way.
  • Clean your leg bag every day and replace it whenever your doctor tells you to. This is usually once a month.

Other care tips

  • Drink plenty of liquids. You should drink at least 8 cups of healthy liquids a day, if your health care provider approves.
  • Do not pull or tug on the tubing. This can cause bleeding and hurt the area in which the water-filled balloon is located.
  • Do not step on the tubing when you are walking. Hold the tubing curled in your hand, with the urine bag below your bladder when you are walking. You may also want to clip or pin the tubing to your clothing.
  • Arrange the catheter tubing so that it does not twist or loop. When you are getting into bed, hang the urine bag beside the bed. You can sleep in any position as long as the bedside bag is below your bladder. Do not place the urine bag on the floor.
  • Always keep your urine bag below your bladder, which is at the level of your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder from the tubing and urine bag, which could cause an infection. Also, do not go to bed or take a long nap while wearing the leg bag.
  • When you take a shower, you can keep the larger drainage bag in place and hang it on the rail in the shower area. You can also use a plug that is inserted in the place where the catheter connects to the drainage bag. Lay the drainage bag aside with a cover over the connection piece while you shower, and reconnect when you are done. It is important to put a cap on the end of the drainage bag tubing so it does not become contaminated.
  • If you dislodge the catheter, it will stop draining or it will leak. Call your doctor if this happens. Leakage can happen from many things: dislodgement, bladder spasms, or blockage. In all cases, notify your doctor.
  • Check the catheter and drainage tube on a regular basis to make sure the tube isn't squeezed or tangled.

When should you contact your healthcare provider about your urine drainage bag?

Contact your healthcare provider if you have:

(Video) Caregiver Training Series : How to change and maintain a urine bag

  • Cloudy, foul-smelling urine.
  • Red or pink urine, mean that there is blood in the urine.
  • A fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pain or burning in your urethra, bladder or lower back.
  • Swelling, draining, or redness in your urethra (the area where the Foley catheter leaves the body).

You should also contact your healthcare provider if no urine has drained from your catheter in six to eight hours or if your catheter is leaking.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include:

  • A need to urinate often.
  • A painful, burning feeling in the area of the bladder or urethra while you are urinating.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

You may also feel bad all over — tired, shaky, washed out —and feel pain even when you are not urinating. The urine itself may look milky or cloudy or even reddish if blood is present.


How do I clean my urine leg bag? ›

Rinse out the leg bag with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. Soak the bag for 20 minutes. Rinse the bag out with warm water and hang it up to dry. In the morning, take off the drainage bag, put on the leg bag, and clean out the drainage bag the same way.

How often should a urine leg bag be changed? ›

Leg bags and valves should be changed every 7 days. The bag can be attached to your right or left leg, depending on which side is most comfortable for you. At night, you'll need to attach a larger bag. Your night bag should either be attached to your leg bag or to the catheter valve.

Can you sleep with urine leg bag? ›

Yes you can! There are larger capacity catheter bags that are designed for overnight drainage. Their larger capacity means you won't have to worry about getting up in the night to drain them. Simply connect a night catheter bag to your leg bag as part of an overnight link system.

How often should a urinary drainage bag be cleaned? ›

Urinary drainage bags should be cleaned after each use. It is important to clean the bags properly to prevent germs from causing infections. The bags (Foley Bags and Leg Bags) should be changed at least every month, but more often if needed. Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach and 1/2 cup of water in a cup.

Why does a leg bag turn purple? ›

Purple bag syndrome occurs when bacteria within the urine produce red and blue pigments. This adheres to the lining of the catheter bag, turning it a vibrant purple, even though the urine itself isn't discoloured.

How do you keep a catheter bag from smelling? ›

I Have Unwanted Odour

You should also disconnect the bag from the catheter tubing. Next, drain any remaining urine from the disconnected bag. You should then pour some warm soapy water into the bag. Open the drainage valve to drain the soap, and fill the bag with vinegar and water.

Can we walk with urine bag? ›

Urine will pass through the catheter from your bladder into the leg bag. Your leg bag will be attached to you all day. You can move around freely with it.

How do you prevent an infection from a catheter? ›

CAUTI can be prevented by things such as hand washing, not using urine drain tubes and if they must be used, inserting them properly and keeping them clean. Catheters should be put in only when necessary, and removed as soon as possible. Core Prevention Strategies: Insert catheters only for appropriate indications.

Can you drive with a catheter leg bag? ›

A: Yes. The leg bag is designed to fit beneath your clothing to be discrete. If you are feeling well, you can do normal daily activities. Driving is not permitted with a urinary catheter.

How do you shower with a bladder bag? ›

You can bathe and shower as normal with your stoma and, unless you have been specifically advised otherwise, you can do so with the stoma bag on or off. It won't fall off in the water if you choose to keep it on and if you bathe with the stoma bag off, soap rinsing over the stoma isn't a problem.

How much urine does a leg bag hold? ›

Generally, leg bags come in three different capacities – 350ml, 500ml, or 750ml. Most catheter or sheath users will usually be given a 500ml bag to start out with before trying smaller or larger sizes. It's always important to remember that everyone is different.

How many days can use urine bag? ›

Indwelling catheters

Bags should be emptied before they become completely full (around half to three-quarters full). Valves should be used to drain urine at regular intervals throughout the day to prevent urine building up in the bladder. Both bags and valves should be replaced and thrown away about every 5 to 7 days.

How many days we can keep urine bag? ›

Do not keep it for longer than 24 hours. The bacteria in the urine sample can multiply if it is not kept in a fridge.

How do you clean and empty a catheter bag? ›

Follow these steps:
  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water.
  2. Disconnect the bag from the catheter tubing. ...
  3. Drain any remaining urine from the bag you just disconnected. ...
  4. Pour some warm (not hot) soapy water into the bag. ...
  5. Open the drainage valve to drain the soap.

How do you treat purple urine bag syndrome? ›

Risk factors for purple urine bag syndrome include female sex, renal failure, a permanent indwelling catheter, constipation, alkaline urine, bacteriuria, and a high intake of dietary tryptophan. Treatment consists of antibiotic therapy, laxatives, and replacement of a urinary catheter.

What antibiotics treat purple bag syndrome? ›

Improving urological sanitation and control of constipation by appropriate nutritional management are essential for the prevention of PUBS, while treatment of underlying urinary tract infection with an antibiotic, such as ciprofloxacin, is sometimes helpful.

Why am I peeing around my catheter? ›

The tip of the catheter is not in the lower most part of the bladder; the balloon that holds the catheter in the bladder elevates the tip of the catheter away from the bladder neck. For this reason, when you are up walking around you may have leakage of urine and possible a small amount of blood around the catheter.

How do you sleep with a catheter in? ›

When you go to bed, do not disconnect your catheter valve from the catheter or sheath. Insert the connector of the drainage bag into the sleeve at the bottom of your catheter valve (where the urine comes out). Once connected, open the tap of your catheter valve, as you would to drain it.

Why is my catheter bag full of air? ›

Bacteria remains in the reservoir and an infection (UTI) may start. The bacteria which has come with the urine flow into the urine drainage bag is suspected to give what is called “air” in the bag, by gas-formation.

Can you sit with a catheter? ›

The catheter allows urine to drain from the bladder into a bag. Two types of drainage bags may be used with a urinary catheter. A bedside bag is a large bag that you can hang on the side of your bed or on a chair. You can use it overnight or anytime you will be sitting or lying down for a long time.

Is urine bag painful? ›

Inserting either type of catheter can be uncomfortable, so anaesthetic gel may be used on the area to reduce any pain. You may also experience some discomfort while the catheter is in place, but most people with a long-term catheter get used to this over time.

Can urine bags cause infections? ›

The main risk of using a urinary catheter is that it can sometimes allow bacteria to enter your body. This can cause an infection in the urethra, bladder or, less commonly, in the kidneys.

Is urine bag removal painful? ›

After the balloon is emptied, your provider will ask you to take a deep breath and then exhale. This will help relax your pelvic floor muscles. As you exhale, your provider will gently pull on the catheter to remove it. You may feel some discomfort as the catheter is removed.

What are 3 common complications of catheter use? ›

Complications of catheter use include:
  • Allergy or sensitivity to latex.
  • Bladder stones.
  • Blood infections (septicemia)
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Kidney damage (usually only with long-term, indwelling catheter use)
  • Urethral injury.
  • Urinary tract or kidney infections.
10 Jan 2021

What can you not do with a catheter? ›

Don't change catheters or urine collection bags at routine, fixed intervals.
  • Don't administer routine antimicrobial prophylaxis.
  • Don't use antiseptics to cleanse the periurethral area while a catheter is in place.
  • Don't vigorously clean the periurethral area.
  • Don't irrigate the bladder with antimicrobials.

How do you tell if a catheter is infected? ›

Symptoms of a urinary catheter infection

Common symptoms of urinary catheter infection include: discomfort low down in your tummy. pain where the tube comes out. pus or blood where the tube comes out.

What is the difference between a leg bag and a drainage bag? ›

What is the difference between the two? The biggest difference between an overnight drainage bag and a urinary leg bag is the over-all size of the product. The other important difference is that a leg bag is meant to be worn and an overnight bag is meant to hang next to your bed while you are sleeping or resting.

Can you reuse leg bags? ›

Leg bags that are labeled by the manufacturer as reusable may be reused for a single resident in the LTC setting for convenience, cost savings and decreased environmental waste. Following the manufacturer's instructions for use is imperative.

How many hours after removing catheter should you urinate? ›

Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. Try to urinate every 2 hours to keep your bladder empty for the first 8 hours after removing the Foley catheter.

How much water should you drink with a catheter? ›

People with a long-term indwelling catheter need to drink plenty of fluids to keep the urine flowing. Drinking 2 to 3 litres of fluid per day (six to eight large glasses of fluid) can help reduce the risks of blockages and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

How do you hide a leg bag catheter? ›

Urine will pass through the catheter from your bladder into the leg bag.
  1. Your leg bag will be attached to you all day. You can move around freely with it.
  2. You can hide your leg bag under skirts, dresses, or pants. ...
  3. At night, you will need to use a bedside bag with a larger capacity.

Where do you put a catheter bag at night? ›

Be sure to hang the bag over the side of the bed below the level of your bladder so that urine will flow easily.

How do I protect my ostomy bag in the shower? ›

In the shower with a stoma bag
  1. Empty your bag before showering.
  2. The wafer adhesive is waterproof. ...
  3. Before and after showering, make sure the skin protector or wafer seals well to the skin.
  4. When using a drainable bag, some people roll the bag up and clip it off for showering.

What do you wear with a catheter bag? ›

We recommend trying jeans or pants that are one size up from your normal size to ensure that the pants don't pull on your catheter tubing. Skirts, dresses, leggings, slacks, and tights are also great options for concealing drainage bags whether on the leg or the belly.

What do you wear with a urostomy bag? ›

Make sure your clothes are not too tight around the bag.

Depending on stoma placement, you may feel more comfortable with high- or low-rise waistband items, like underwear, jeans, or activewear. Don't be afraid to try different waist heights to find the rise that works best for your body.

How much water should I drink after catheter removal? ›

Drink 8 glasses or more of water a day. Try to drink 1 glass every hour until bedtime. Drinking fluids (water, juice, or non-caffeinated drinks) will help your bladder start to work normally again. Some people with other medical conditions or who are on certain medications should not drink more fluids than usual.

Are urine bags permanent? ›

Continent urostomy.

It is designed to keep urine from flowing backward to the kidneys or leaking out through the stoma. You empty this pouch several times each day using a small tube called a catheter. A urostomy is usually a permanent surgery and cannot be reversed.

What is the best position to sleep in with a catheter? ›

That means you might need to change your normal sleeping position. You might also find you're comfortable sleeping on your side. If that's the case, it's better to sleep on the opposite side from where the port is inserted. If your port is on the right side of your chest, sleep on your left side, or vice versa.

How do you clean a catheter bag at home? ›

Mix 1 ¼ cups of white vinegar with 2 quarts of water. Rinse the bag well with this solution to help reduce urine odor. (Do not rinse the bag with water after using the vinegar solution.) Then, wash your hands.

How many times do you clean a catheter? ›

Cleaning the Catheter

Follow these steps two times a day to keep your catheter clean and free of germs that can cause infection: Wash your hands well with soap and water. Be sure to clean between your fingers and under your nails. Change the warm water in your container if you are using a container and not a sink.

Can you clean and reuse catheter? ›

It is recommended that patients do not attempt to wash and reuse catheters, but instead use sterile medical catheters in order to preserve and enhance patient health and safety. Sterile catheters are Single Use Devices (SUDs). They are not approved by FDA to be washed and re-used.

How often should a catheter be changed? ›

How long an indwelling catheter can be left in place depends on what the catheter it is made of, whether or not the catheter user gets frequent infections and blockages, and each person's individual situation. Catheters usually stay in place between 2 and 12 weeks.

How do I clean my urostomy night bag? ›

Cleaning the system

Pour 1/4 cup vinegar through the tubing into the night drainage container. Pour 2 cups cool water through the tubing into the container. Let the tubing and container sit for at least 1 hour. Then empty the contents into the toilet.

How do you clean an overnight catheter bag? ›

Gently disconnect your night bag or bottle from your leg bag or catheter valve. Empty the contents of your night bag or bottle into the toilet. Place the white tip under running water and wash your night bag or bottle using gentle liquid hand soap. Use warm not hot water to reduce the risk of scalding.

How often should a catheter night bag be changed? ›

Single Use Night Bags should be changed daily whilst the reusable, drainable options can be used, on average, between 5-7 days.

Why does my urostomy bag smell? ›

The odor is a combination of plastic breakdown in the ostomy bag due to exposure to urine, the general smell of the adhesive barrier wearing down. Plus, the fact that urine in a bag is not sterile. It should not be noticeable, but for most ostomates, we are highly sensitive and may feel self-conscious about any odor.

How often do you empty urostomy bag? ›

It's a good idea to empty your pouch when it's about 1/3 to 1/2 full. During the day most people need to empty the pouch about as often as they used the bathroom before they had urostomy surgery or other bladder problems – for many people, this might mean every 2 to 4 hours, or more often if you drink a lot of fluids.

Can you shower with a urostomy bag? ›

You can bathe or shower with or without wearing your pouching system. Normal exposure to air or water will not harm or enter your stoma.

Can a catheter bag get wet? ›

You can shower while you have your catheter in place. Don't take a bath until your catheter is removed. This is because taking a bath while you have your catheter puts you at risk for infections. Make sure you always shower with your night bag.

How often does a catheter need flushing? ›

Institutional protocols commonly recommend flushing catheters every 8 hours.

What time of day should a catheter be removed? ›

Traditionally patients would have a trail removal of urinary catheters at 6am. This allows time during the day for the patient to pass urine or to receive appropriate treatment if they go on to develop urinary retention. Some urology wards remove urinary catheters at midnight.

How do you know if your catheter is blocked? ›

Leakage around the catheter is another problem associated with indwelling catheters. This can happen as a result of bladder spasms or when you poo. Leakage can also be a sign that the catheter is blocked, so it's essential to check that it's draining.


1. How to Change from Foley Catheter Leg Bag to Nighttime Bag | Chronic urinary retention
(Dr. Robert Chan)
2. Cleaning a Leg Bag Used for Urinary Incontinence
3. All About Urine Catheter Care (English Subtitles)
(Singapore General Hospital)
4. Changing a Catheter Bag
(Staffordshire University - Skills & Simulation)
5. How to Care for Your Catheter (Male) at Home
(UHN Patient Education)
6. HCA Hospice [Medi Minder Training Series] Changing the Urine Bag
(HCA Hospice)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated: 11/23/2022

Views: 6002

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Manual Maggio

Birthday: 1998-01-20

Address: 359 Kelvin Stream, Lake Eldonview, MT 33517-1242

Phone: +577037762465

Job: Product Hospitality Supervisor

Hobby: Gardening, Web surfing, Video gaming, Amateur radio, Flag Football, Reading, Table tennis

Introduction: My name is Manual Maggio, I am a thankful, tender, adventurous, delightful, fantastic, proud, graceful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.