After being discharged from the hospital after having a radical prostatectomy for your prostate cancer treatment, you probably have a urinary catheter going home with you. If so, use the following tips along with your doctor's instructions to take care of the catheter during the one or two weeks that you will have it.
Wear Loose-Fitting Cotton Underwear
While you are living with your catheter, you most likely have two goals. First, you want to be as comfortable as possible. And, second, you want to keep your genital area clean so you do not end up with a bladder infection.
One way to achieve both of these goals is to wear loose-fitting underwear. Since the catheter is inserted inside your penis, this is not the time for tight underwear that can constrict the area and cause you extreme discomfort. Wear boxers or briefs that are tight enough to hold everything in place, yet loose enough not to bind you.
When selecting the material, stay away from polyester or other synthetics. Instead, opt for 100-percent cotton underwear. Not only is the fabric softer for your already irritated skin, but it also allows air flow. This helps minimize the ability of bacteria to grow and fester by keeping the air fresh and your skin dry.
Leave Slack in the Catheter
Before you put your underwear on, make sure you leave enough slack in the catheter so that it does not pull on your private parts. Not only would that in itself be uncomfortable, but tension could also cause skin breakdown around the head of your penis if the catheter causes too much pressure on the skin.
While you are getting dressed, feed your urinary collection bag through one of the leg holes of your underwear. Then, pull your underwear up to the midsection of your thighs, and attach the catheter to your leg strap.
Pull the catheter up through the strap to give it a little slack, then pull your underwear completely on. Make sure there is still enough slack in the catheter, then finish getting dressed.
Using the above tips can help you take care of your urinary catheter until your doctor removes it. If you have any questions about your catheter or anything else about taking care of yourself after your radical prostatectomy, discuss your concerns with the oncologist responsible for your prostate cancer treatment to get personalized advice regarding your unique situation.