A handy guide to catheter valves

Catheter valves offer an alternative means of urine drainage to a bag. A valve connects to the end of your catheter so your bladder fills with urine instead of a leg bag. You can then open the valve at regular intervals to drain your bladder.

The valve acts just like a lever valve on a drainage bag:

  • To open, push the lever down towards the floor
  • To close, pull it back again

The benefits of a catheter valve many patients report the following benefits from using a catheter valve:

  • Comfort – no heavy bag to hang down
  • Dignity – small and easy to conceal
  • Protection – less risk of damage to sensitive body parts as no heavy weight hanging from the outside of your body and protection of the bladder wall as it is lifted above the catheter when full
  • Preservation – using a valve helps to keep the tone of your bladder muscles and elastic fibres which can be lost with a bag
  • Reduced blockage – due to the catheter regularly being flushed with urine
  • Independence – valves may help you to manage your continence difficulties with less outside help
  • Mobility – easier to move with a small valve attached and it helps to promote maintenance of your hand skills

Who can use a valve?

Valves are suitable for the following catheter users:

  • Users of an indwelling catheter who desire some of the benefits above

Who can’t use a valve? Valves are not suitable for the following catheter users:

  • Users with poor motor skills, who will struggle to open the valve easily
  • Users who struggle to remember basic personal care
  • Users who have serious kidney problems
  • Users who have an ongoing infection
  • Users who have been told by their doctor they have a reduced bladder capacity
  • Users who have reduced bladder sensation
  • Users who have had recent pelvic or abdominal surgery
  • Users who have high pressure bladders

Always talk to your healthcare professional to ensure a valve is suitable before you begin to use one.

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