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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Your healthcare provider has instructed you to remove your Foley catheter. This is a thin, flexible tube that allows urine to drain out of your bladder and into a bag. It’s important to properly remove your catheter to help prevent infection and other complications. If you have any questions about removing the Foley catheter, ask your healthcare provider before attempting to remove it. Otherwise, follow the instructions on this sheet.

Foley Catheter

The Foley catheter is held in place by a small balloon that’s filled with water. To remove the catheter, you must first drain the water from the balloon. This is done using a syringe and the balloon port. This is the opening in the catheter that isn’t attached to the bag. It allows you to access the balloon.

Instructions for Catheter Removal

Follow the directions closely. Note: If the catheter doesn’t come out with gentle pulling, stop and call your healthcare provider right away.

  • Empty the bag of urine if needed.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry them well.
  • Gather your supplies. This includes a syringe, wastebasket, and towel.
  • Insert the syringe into the balloon port on the catheter. The syringe fits tightly into the port with a firm push and twist motion.
  • Wait as the water from the balloon empties into the syringe.
  • Once the balloon is emptied, gently pull out the catheter.
  • Put the used catheter in the wastebasket. Also throw away the syringe.
  • Use the towel to wipe up any spilled water or urine if necessary.
  • Wash your hands again.


Call your healthcare provider right away if:

  • You have a fever of 100.4°F or higher.
  • You have questions about catheter removal.
  • The catheter doesn’t come out with gentle pulling.
  • You can’t urinate within 8 hours of catheter removal.
  • Your abdomen is painful or bloated.
  • You have burning pain with urination that lasts for 24 hours.
  • You see a lot of blood in the urine (light bleeding for 24 hours is normal).
  • It feels like the bladder is not emptying.

Your healthcare provider says that you require intermittent catheterization (IC). IC involves temporarily placing a tube (catheter) into the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body. The catheter drains urine from the bladder. Once the bladder is empty, the catheter is removed. Learning how to properly care for your catheters helps keep them clean for you to use, which helps prevent infection.

Types of Catheters

Catheters are made of soft, flexible plastic, rubber, or silicone. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are disposable and are used once and thrown away. Others can be used multiple times if cleaned properly. Ask your healthcare provider how often the catheter you use should be replaced. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully.

Catheter Care

If you use a disposable catheter, use a new one each time you empty your bladder. Throw the catheter away when you’re done. If your catheters are reusable, do the following after each use:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  • Clean the catheter with soap and warm water.
  • Rinse the catheter, making sure there is no soap left inside or on it.
  • Dry the outside of the catheter.
  • Store the catheter in a clean, dry container, such as a resealable plastic bag.
  • Throw away a catheter if the plastic looks cloudy.
  • Wash your hands again.

Notice to WIU New London Patients:

WIU’s New London location is relocating.

Check us out at 1370 N Shawano St. Suite A, New London, WI 54961-7943

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