9 Tips To Urinate After Catheter Removal

There are many different types of catheters used in medicine for various purposes. 

However, we will discuss a urinary catheter, also called foley’s catheter. 

The use of foley catheters is pretty common, especially in critically ill patients or surgical wards. 

It is inserted in people who cannot pee by themselves. Unfortunately, many of these patients remain on a catheter for quite a long time.

However, when people are on a catheter for a long time, it may cause urinary infections, weakening bladder muscles, and other issues. 

In addition, many people complain about burning sensations after catheter removal and difficulty peeing. Thus, for many, peeing after the catheter becomes challenging. 

Others may have incontinence after a catheter. This is the opposite kind of problem when someone finds it difficult to control peeing, and leakage occurs.

Therefore, it is no surprise that many have to relearn urinating after they have their catheter taken out. Keep reading to find out 9 tips to help you urinate after catheter removal.

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9 tips to urinate after catheter removal

Regretfully, anyone with a catheter would have some issues returning to everyday life after catheter removal. For example, many suffer from urinary hesitancy, and others complain of burning after catheter removal. 

Medical treatment can help overcome many signs and symptoms. However, many would need to make extra efforts to return to normality.

Below are some tips to urinate after catheter removal that may help you return to normal life faster:

1) Listen to the sound of running water when peeing 

This can help overcome urinary hesitancy and relax. This simple measure may work for many. 

You can just turn on the sink’s faucet and listen to it. It is also a kind of distraction technique.

2) Go for a walk 

If you feel like peeing, do not go to the bathroom immediately. Instead, take a short walk and let the pressure build, which will help you urinate better. Moreover, many people have so-called bladder hyperactivity after catheter removal.

3) Rinse your genitals

This is a trick that may work for some, especially those who are used to rinsing their genitals after urinating

4) Consider peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is known to reduce spasms, and thus it may help relax the bladder sphincter, and this way help urinate. It also has some anti-anxiety effects.

5) Consider cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is regarded as good for urinary health and known to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections. Drinking cranberry juice may be better due to its high-water content, which may also promote urine formation (2). 

6) Consider urinary health supplements

Remember that after catheter removal, you are not only at the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections but also at a higher risk of developing bladder stones. 

Natural supplements are good for prolonged use and thus can help improve urinary health and help pee better.

7) Practice the Valsalva maneuver 

This is performed by a forced expiration against the closed glottis. Many activities require such kind of straining as playing the saxophone and even during defecation. Hence, it can also help pee after catheter removal (3).

8) Tap suprapubic region 

This technique is especially good for women. Just tap your lower belly and area above the pubic bone but below your navel.

9) Learn relaxation techniques

They help the sphincter to relax. It may be especially helpful in overcoming urinary hesitancy caused by the burning sensation while peeing.

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What to expect after a catheter removal

Some people would not have much trouble or issues like urinary tract infections. After foley catheter removal, they would be able to pee as usual. Most surgeries these days do not last long, so people do not need to stay in bed for long. 

However, things are slightly different for those who have to lie for longer, like those in intensive care or older adults. For them, peeing after catheter removal may be troublesome.

For most people, there can be some issues for a couple of days after catheter removal, like many would be hesitant to urinate. However, others may urinate too frequently due to the irritation caused by the catheter.

Some may develop urinary tract infections, causing pain, soreness, and stinging sensation when peeing. Others may also see some changes in urine color. Fortunately, in most cases, these issues do not last long.

Possible side effects after catheter removal

Any treatment or procedure may cause side effects. For example, though urinary catheters are quite safe, they may cause some side effects. 

In 70% of patients, a urinary catheter is inserted for more extended periods, increasing the risk of different side effects. Most of these side effects are not life-threatening, though they might cause significant distress.

The most common side effect after catheter removal is urinary tract infection. This risk is higher when a catheter is left in place even after release from the hospital. 

The longer the duration of catheterization, the higher the risk of developing a urinary tract infection.

Thus, some of the common issues after catheter removal would be pain in the lower tummy and around groins, high temperature, shivering, confusion, a sensation of burning after catheter removal, and even trouble peeing.

Some people may develop urinary incontinence or other issues. They may have frequent cramps and pains. 

Though rare, some may develop kidney and more severe bladder issues after catheter removal. This occurs due to damage done when the catheter is in place. 

Additionally, antibiotic-resistant infections are also increasing these days, thus increasing the risk of kidney or bladder issues (1).

Some people may develop bladder stones after catheter removal. But, again, these are results of damage due to the catheter, or some chronic infection, which greatly increases the risk of stone formation. 

Pseud polyps, septicemia, and urethral trauma are less common issues after catheter removal. However, all these issues may cause urethral irritation, frequent bathroom visits, neurogenic bladder, reduced emptying process, and other issues.

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How long does it take to urinate normally after catheter removal?

It highly depends on how long the catheter was placed. Most people would urinate normally within 48 hours if it were for the short term. 

However, the longer the catheter stays in the urinary tract, the greater the risk of developing side effects. And thus, longer the person may take to start urinating normally. In addition, many may need prolonged antibiotic treatment and other medications to begin urinating normally.

For some, the problem may be urinary hesitation or a burning sensation after the catheter removal. For others, it may be frequent peeing and urinary inconsistence. However, most of these people would benefit from natural remedies and pelvic floor exercises.

How long does it take for the bladder to return to normal after catheter removal?

It all depends on how long the catheter was in place. 

It takes around a day to return to normal bladder function for one-third of patients in whom the catheter was used for less than 72 hours.

However, for two-thirds of patients, things are different, as the catheter was placed for much longer. Hence, most would require a few days to recover. 

These timelines would be even longer in those affected by some urinary tract infections. 

Nonetheless, except for a few cases, most can expect to return to normal bladder function within a few days. However, chronic and recurrent bladder issues may become a problem for some. 

If you’re having trouble urinating, take a look at our tips below to help you urinate after catheter removal.

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How do I train my bladder after catheter removal?

There are a few things that anyone can do to improve bladder function. However, people often have problems peeing after catheter removal due to local irritation, weakening of the bladder, and general malaise. 

Hence, pelvic floor exercises are among the best way to train your bladder after catheter removal. It is especially needed for those how had indwelling catheters for a long. One good exercise to improve pelvic floor strength could be Kegels.

Another way to train your bladder is to focus on core muscles: lower back, upper thighs, and lower abdomen. For example, planks are a good way to train your core muscles: abdominal crunch and abdominal press are other ways to train your bladder


A urinary catheter is often needed in seriously ill patients, surgical wards, emergency care, and so on. Often, these are people with some severe health disorder requiring surgical intervention or prolonged medical treatment.

However, it also means that prolonged catheter use may cause certain health issues in these individuals. For example, a urinary catheter may cause urinary tract infections and even bladder issues.

Even after catheter removal, many people may struggle to urinate normally. They may develop urinary hesitation and experience a burning sensation or even pain while peeing. Others may struggle to pee due to bladder weakness. Some may also have urinary incontinence.

Fortunately, most of these issues can be managed with medication treatment, along with lifestyle interventions and natural remedies. This article shared 9 tips to help patients urinate normally after catheter removal. For example, people may benefit by strengthening core muscles, using herbal supplements, and more.

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  1. Feneley RCL, Hopley IB, Wells PNT. Urinary catheters: history, current status, adverse events, and research agenda. J Med Eng Technol. 2015;39(8):459-470. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26383168/
  2. Hisano M, Bruschini H, Nicodemo AC, Srougi M. Cranberries and lower urinary tract infection prevention. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2012;67(6):661-667. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370320/ 
  3. Srivastav S, Jamil RT, Zeltser R. Valsalva Maneuver. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed October 6, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537248/ 

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