Catheter advice (male)

Don’t know if this is in the right place so i will just be very quick.
I’m new and first post.
Dad is 90 and im a full time carer and we are having problems with it keep getting blocked,its a foley long term one.

Hi Jason, welcome to the forum. My mum had this problem, she said she was in dreadful pain as a result. The nursing home said that her urine was a thicker consistency than normal, so maybe encouraging dad to drink a bit more might help. However I know that many elderly people with impaired health don’t drink much.
I’m NOT saying that dad is dying, but if you Google “signs of dying” you will find articles written by people who have worked in a hospice, the best explanations I have found explaining why people who are very ill or very old eat and drink less. I just wished someone had told me when our first parent was ill.

Hi,thanks for the reply and i will give a bit more details on this.
Dad lives at home and i live with him and care for him 24/7,he had the catheter fitted 6 years 3 months due to enlarge prostate which was seen on ultra-scan.(water retention) and all else looked fine.
The first 4 years was great as it didn’t have a lot of problems but this last 2 years,well could say 1 year he had a lot of blockages every week or so so gets flushed every week and just have catheter changed every week if wont flush,insertion is not a problem as it just goes in perfect which no one can understand as cant even or very very little go through prostate.
He drinks a good 1.5litre of water and his normal 3 cups of tea but dad has always have the problem which is normal for him that there wont be a lot in the bag in the days but at night its all fine and does a nice bit.
My main question is here is.
Is there anything like drink that can dissolve some of the debris in the bladder.(tried cranberry juice over 2 weeks and no joy)
Is there any other method to keep it clean apart from the wash out which is being done,read about inserting something like a pipe cleaner or that sort of thing.
To add to it he has regular urine checks with no UTI and he is in no pain at all and no other problems just very bad nose sinuses.
This seems to happen when he started getting the PUBS (purple urine bag ) which is more of a blue but urine always normal.
I’m the son and been caring for 15+years with mom first,i do hope someone can shine a bit of advice to help this.

My Husband has had a catheter for about 18 months, it used to block every 3/4 weeks. Wash outs never worked so had to be changed fairly often. He now has a flip flow (tap above the leg bag) and I turn this tap off once a day for an hour or so, this lets the urine build up in his bladder, when the tap is turned on again the bladder is flushed as it would be naturally. Since this has been done we have gone the 12 weeks until routine catheter change 3 times. My Husband does have plenty of fluids, at least 2 litres a day. Husband takes water tablets so I try and turn the tap off when I know bladder will fill well. However don’t forget to turn tap on again! hope this might help.

Hi and thanks for your advice,i do you what you are saying here but because dad do pass anything a lot in the day like he can go a good 5 hours and nothing in his bag then a small amount if any comes so it still would not build up,a lot of elderly i have been told are like this as most of us anyway don’t do anything every 2 hours anyway,to be honest i have been told by nurses its best to leave it flow but i have to say i do know where you are coming from.
I have not been a big fan of the wash out just for 1 reason,if there are bits in the tube its pushing it all upto 3 small holes so there will be a lot that could block it anyway.
Say from 5 in the morning upto 2 in the afternoon dad will have 1 litre and a mug for his tablets on the morning so around 1 1/4 then his other tablet mug at 5 on the night,he has also been told although tea is a fluid don’t add it to you daily limit.
Has anyone ever heard of this pipe cleaner or something like it as this item i looked at is not a pipe cleaner its a very fine rubber lace which fits inside a size 16 catheter and not a tight fit (same as like a hifi fine wire aerial) but its all hollow like a tube.
Also as anyone got any knowledge on this purple/blue bag which will come back after a week or so after having catheter done.
We never at all ad the blue bag only after around 4 to 5 years after having the catheter so make me think this is connected to the more stuff in the bladder.
I thanks you all on here for trying to help and i will keep looking at stuff to help this in where i can as i change the bag and stuff.

Never heard of pipe cleaner thingy to clean catheter, I don’t think I’d be confident to try. Do the district nurses come out, they are usually very helpful with information on catheters. Do you mean the actual leg bag turns blue in colour after a few days? this sounds odd. I’d ring district nurses. Best wishes

Sorry, I’ve just reread your post, the leg bags we use are not coloured, but I don’t think the leg bag being blue could cause blockages?

Hi and thanks for the reply.
Its were the urine sits after a time,say dad had a new catheter then a week or 2 after you can see the bag tube and where it comes into the bag turn like a blue/purple which a lot puts it down to medication or infection,medication has not changed and after urine check no UTI,if you look online its called PUBS,why i say could be connected is i have read if more Debris then more chance of getting blocked and this is a higher amount of a certain chemical in the urine which will cause more bacteria Hence more Debris.
Yes the nurses come out every Monday and if needed and did mention a few things about this unblocking by other ways as when the catheter is out which i keep a few old ones to look at its just a slight push of this small tube to loosed it and it flows again as you cant squeeze the tube when inside the body,i would of thought there would be more ways to loosed a blocked catheter as this don’t touch the skin and is washed a lot before tried,not tried it yet just read about stuff as nurses said this is becoming a bigger problem blocked catheters and also dark blood is very common like a dark red wine which we get a lot and all been tested and just leave it for a week or more which through time it does clear.
The main 3 things im trying to sort is 1…anything to dissolve the Debris(drink) 2…unblock rather than a flush 3…this purple bag.
I was told by nurses to ask and try on here and thanks a lot for the advise but im still stuck with these 3 problems.

Jason, have you noticed that your post has had 200 views already?!

Hi Jason, sorry no more ideas. I can’t see the pipe cleaner thing working as the hole that the urine goes through in tube in bladder is offset, so you would not be able to push debris out of the end, if that makes sense, I have no idea of anything that could be drunk to clear urine either. I would have thought district nurses would have more ideas? Best wishes

Yes i have noticed this is a very common topic as over 200 in a day or so,think there is a lot of people with these type of problems and highlighting it might help others as well as me as i do hope so.
I wont try the pipe cleaner way as its only doing what the flush fluid is doing pushing it all up the tube but the advantage in this is its breaking it down and making it loose to flow and the pressure you have to put on with fluid flush aint enough.
Yes i see what you mean with the holes on the side and tried this very fine rubber tube i have out on 2 old catheters and works A1 as i did try it to the top of the old one i had which was blocked it loosened it all up then if you do ever touch the stuff its like a very fine grit/sand which just crumbles,i have measured 2 of these rubber tubes i have so one wont go to the top and the other does,if you move the tube in and out it breaks it up in the catheter so only pushes a small amount.
After 2 days in now you can see like a film covering inside the tube like frosty look.
I would of thought a few on here would have found some way to either unblock or help prevent like a drink to help Debris.
And that a lot aint had or heard of this Blue/Purple bag as its online telling you about it just again no advice to help prevent as its not the urine whats this color its some particle in it to make and leave a film on the rubber tube where the urine sits a period of time.
Thanks to all.

My mum had a catheter when she was living at home, the GP surgery had a “Continence Nurse” who would visit regularly to check that everything was OK. Is this happening with dad?

Yes we have a nurse come every Monday for a Flush out but sometimes it blocks just before like a day or so but he does get a lot of these like flaky bits in the tube which in time sticks to the inside like a crust.
Im trying to see if there is anything to dissolve these like a drink inside the bladder to make a bit less or other things to unblock.
Also trying to find out more about this PUBS which is like a chemical in the urine that turns the bag where the urine is purple.
Doctor is no use as they don’t know a lot about this stuff as she rang today,asked a lot of nurses about stuff and got a bit of advice but told me to ask on here as other people must have the same thing and use different methods to help.

Hi Jason … two external sites which could prove to be highly relevant :

Catheter Problems: Troubleshooting | Shield HealthCare

An USA outfit but … your problem is not confined to a mere geographic location.

GP information | CUH

Department of Urology , Addenbrooke’s Hospital , Cambridge … one of our finest.

Hi,thanks for the 2 links above,the 1st one does make a lot of sense of the symptoms of UTI or even a infection but the thing is dad has a few of these but urine sample always ok (what they say) but you go on there word as they say it needs to be sent to hospital to test the urine sample as he has a catheter but dad has most times…very smelly…cloudy…he says like a sensation on the end (not pain) sometimes but i can say they have never said he has had UTI in all the years.
Last uttra scan was about 2 years ago and had 3 of these in last 6 years and nothing all ok just a very large prostate.
This gets better when he first have a new catheter then a week or so after we get the cloudy and white Flakes and then the purple bag which again goes right to infection what i think,we never had this purple bag until 2 years ago and now stuck with it.
I get very frustrated a lot of times if they even send most of these samples off or just test them at out surgery.

I saw a programme on TV recently about a new prostate treatment. Maybe it’s time to ask the GP to make a referral to a urologist?
Urine shouldn’t be thick or smelly. Ideally, it should be the colour of pale lemonade.

If you get that colour all the while over a period of time with a catheter you have done well,we have dark blood/blockage/smells/etc and been through doctors/nurses over the last 6 years plus.
With going deeper into stuff like going in to have things done is not a option with dad and also been told this by a few doctors and nurses being his age,91 in July and it would be to big for him and stress on dad and he suffers severe panic attacks.
A water sample should pick up infections along with not feeling well but dad feels fine,we have had doctor home visits to check him from head to toe every 2 to 3 months if not earlier in some cases and all fine,most nurses know more about catheters than GP’s.
I was told to ask on here for advice on here by a nurse being if anyone has come across anything to help with the Debris/white flakes in the urine like drink they have and purple bag and other ways they have done to unblock,don’t seem a lot of elderly people on here have catheters or if do aint had them for over 6 years what i can see as it makes you look at things in a different way,just 2 other things i would like to ask as i have mixed answers on these as well as the problems above.
1…How ofton do you empty the bag,when its on 250ml or above or every say few hours.
2…you can change bags 5 to 7 days,which is the bast as some say 5 and some 7,i started with 5 now on 7.
Thanks for all on here for the help so far.

I was told to change leg bag every 7 days, change from one leg to other at same time. I empty bag every 4-5 hours, depending on fluid intake. Also told to leave small amount of urine in leg bag to help avoid air lock.

Thanks for your reply and i also do it every 7 days now on a Sunday and have been for about 12 months as use to do it every 5 days.
I did use to empty bag when a bit in but now i do it when its about 200ml or so which in dads case can be as good as all day as a top nurse said its just a more active system at night which a lot of people have even more when older,things slow down.
I never knew about the air lock which does make sense and made me look at something else so thanks for mentioning that.
Is there any elderly people on here with these or people who knows a person who has had one for a nice few years.
…After 4 days where urine comes into the bag at the top and where it sits at the bottom is starting to turn bag a purple…
so it sounds like build up of bacteria around the catheter and then we will have more Debris because of this.