Kidney and bladder problems are not uncommon for many people throughout the United States, and they can present with a range of symptoms, from lymphedema to issues with chronic pain. As people live longer and longer (in 2010, more than five million people in the United States alone lived to be eighty five years of age or even older and by 2050, the number of those living past eighty five will jump to include five percent of the total population, nearly twenty million Americans), bladder problems become more and more prevalent as some, though not all, bladder conditions increase in rate and severity with age.
One such bladder condition that affects primarily older people is that of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence can be seen mostly in those who are over the age of sixty five, though urinary incontinence has also been seen in other populations. For instance, women recovering from childbirth are more likely to experience symptoms of urinary incontinence as they heal than the general population is, and some women never get their full bladder strength back without medical intervention. By the time that people reach above the age of eighty five, rates of urinary incontinence show that nearly half of the population at or above that age is affected to some extent.
A urinary catheter can help with problems of urinary incontinence, though it is crucial that it is cared for well, as a poorly cared for urinary catheter can lead to issues of pain and lymphedema. Lymphedema in particular is not uncommon in urinary catheter users, but lymphedema can be treated and the prevention of lymphedema is also possible. Even with issues like lymphedema becoming more likely, a urinary catheter, which can help to empty bladders that do not empty sufficiently on their own, can be life changing for many people, allowing them to function in public without worrying about leaks or accidents.
Caring for your urinary catheter requires a number of different medical supplies, and the patient should always have access to clean and fresh urinary bag supplies and urological supplies. Protective pads are also often utilized just to provide the catheterized patient with an additional sense of protection in the event of a leak from the catheter.
For the most part, however, issues such as leakage and lymphedema can be avoided simply through everyday maintenance of the catheter. For instance, the leg bag that collects urine should be changed at least twice a day, if not more frequently. It should always be changed out when it is half full and never allowed to become completely full, as this can lead to a number of problems. The leg bag itself should be thoroughly cleaned with each changing and your leg bags should be replaced every few months, more frequently if recommended so by your doctor. Finally, it is very important to change and clean your leg bag before you go to sleep for the night. The bag should not be washed with just soap and water, but should utilize vinegar and left to soak for at least twenty minutes before rinsing with warm water and air drying. This cleaning routine will help to keep your bag as sanitary and serviceable for as long as possible.
If you care for your bag diligently, you will be able to avoid issues such as lymphedema and catheter tract infections, with are urinary tract infections resulting from the insertion of a catheter, which has the likelihood, if not cleaned and cared for properly, of bringing unwanted bacteria into the urinary tract.