I’ve written about using a valve instead of a bag if you have a urinary catheter. See the post Using A Catheter Valve Instead Of A Leg Bag for more on that. I’ve really REALLY enjoyed using a valve at the end of my catheter rather than a bag.
But the ever-present worry about infection makes it necessary to change the valve periodically, just as you would a bag. The advice for leg bags is to change them every two weeks or so. For the valves, I have seen a recommendation for changing every 5-7 days. I’m not sure of the reason for tghat difference, nor have I seen any actual studies with real evidence for the difference. I can only say that my experience so far (after almost 2 months) using a valve, and changing it every 2 weeks like with a leg bag, has not resulted in any UTIs. Obviously this is anecdotal evidence and everyone is different. If anyone has a link to some real studies on this, please leave a comment below.
In either case though, having to change the valve every week or two requires you to purchase valves regularly. So far I’ve simply pulled the valve off of a Hollister leg bag (see picture on the right – the valve is on the right/bottom). But my latest valve was called a Tru-Flo valve. I put that one on this morning because it had been 2 weeks since the last change.
what was the verdict? Well, there is always some getting used to something new. The Tru-Flo works by sliding the tip away to open it, and pulling it back to close it. See the video of the Tru-Flo here: https://www.truflovalve.com/video_Demo.html The video shows an easy push and pull of the valve. But I found it a bit stiff and more difficult to push it open than in the video. However, I was able to use it successfully the first time I had to pee. However, the second time I had to go, the entire end of the valve popped off when I opened it! I didn’t even push it that hard. Of course this meant getting some pee on my hands and on the tip as I held it in my left hand while the catheter was emptying into the toilet. When I was done, it was easy enough to pop the tip back on. But be warned if you use one of these valves! If you push too hard, it will come off.
Another thing about the Tru-Flo valve I didn’t like was the price. It costs $16. I paid that, plus $6 for shipping, meaning I paid $22 for a valve I can only use for 2 weeks.
I think I’m going to stick to the valves on the Hollister leg bags. Why? Well, for one thing, you can buy a Hollister leg bag for $7.64. Then all you have to do is pop the valve out (you have to pull hard to get it off). CLICK HERE to buy a Hollister leg bag if you want to do that.
The other reason I’m sticking with the leg-bag valve is that it has never come apart on me while using it.
Your mileage may vary, and there are other valves on the market. But as with everything on this site, I hope my experience helps you.
I want to ask you a couple of questions:
How old are you?
At what age did this become an issue for you?
What were the symptoms?
When they first ever put a catheter in you did it ever cause you to bleed from the tip of your penis?
I’m asking because I’m having some urological issues. I had blood in my semen for the third time in my life. My Doctor did a urine culture, which was fine. The Doctor hesitantly (I insisted on an antibiotic) put me on Cipro (which has been overused with me) and it caused a rash on my taint, which spread to my groin area. He then said it was herpes and put me on Zovirax. I knew it wasn’t herpies because I’ve been with my girlfriend for 7 years monogamously. After finishing those two meds my stomach was shot and the postules in my groin did not go away. On May 1st, I went to the ER. They cultured the rash and said it was most likely Folliculitis, saying they would call me if it was MRSA. They also did a scrotal ultrasound which was fine, along with a urine culture, which was also fine. I was then prescribed Keflex, but the morning of May 4th I had to stop the medicine because it was making me sick. On May 4th, I went back to the ER, and they decided to put a catheter/foley in me for a “sterile specimen.” It was totally unnecesary seeing I had already had two clean urine cultures. I was screaming across the whole ER, as they were doing the procedure. They did some blood work which was fine, too. They gave me bactroban for the rash, which cleared it up, but knowingly forgot to tell me I had MRSA. I have severe PTSD from the catheterization and all that had gone down. Of course, afterwards I had a little bleeding from the tip and some blood in my urine the first couple of times. The day after I had a little blood spot in my boxers, but the days that followed I noticed I became anxious and obsessed with urinating. I followed up with a urologist who said I was fine, but kind of shook me off. He did an ultrasound of my bladder, then sent me on my way, after telling me my rash was MRSA. Then, of course that night I had the most intense burning sensation in my urethra. The only way it subsided was to sleep sitting up. Needless to say that was the sixth night I had not slept. That morning I became so anxious my bladder became swollen. After calming down it went down to it’s normal size. The trauma of the whole experience made me crazy and I didn’t sleep for six days straight! I had to go to the hospital psychiatric crisis center and I had to go on an anti-anxiety just to sleep. Since then, my flow is normal sometimes and weak other times. I’m afraid to be sexual, now. I have diarrhea a lot and I feel hopeless. I made sure to have my primary care do another urine culture to make sure there was no infection and it came back fine. Of course though, a few days later I have had pain in the penis, near the base and the head. My testicles feel swollen, too. I have no job and I just got on Medicaid. I’m 33 years old and I feel totally defeated. I will make an appointment for a full physical and I’m quite sure I’ll have to see a better urologist. I live in CT, but I’m so fearful of Doctors, now. I hope you can give me some guidance. Everyone around me is trying hard to be there for me, but they have there own problems. The females in my life really can’t relate either. My Dad has BPH, he had a cystoscopy which made him unable to urinate. He then went to the ER to get catheterized, but he didn’t have the pain I had. That was a few years back. He seems to understand, but doesn’t like to talk about it. On top of all of this, my aunt passed away from cancer, and my girlfriend had a deep vein thrombosis in her left arm, then my problems showed up. I’m sorry to ramble on. I just don’t know what’s going to happen to me. Currently, my bladder kind of hurts, but I can’t tell if it’s from anxiety, or not.
Can you also keep me posted on the outcome of your surgery?
Ken Theriot says
Sure, Neil. Only 8 days to go!
Ken Theriot says
Wow. OK, Neil. Let me see if I can take this piece-by-piece. Firstly, remember that I am not a doctor or nurse, so my answers are not to be taken as such. Make sure to check with your doctor or nurses before doing anything.
How old are you? – I am 48.
At what age did this become an issue for you? – when I was 47.
What were the symptoms? – It started as a bit of pain when I peed. Then my flow of pee began to slow to the point where sometimes it only came in drops. And though I don’t know for sure this was related (though it seems very likely), there were a couple of occasions – only happened on a couple of days a few months apart in 2012 – where there was a bit of blood in my urine.
When they first ever put a catheter in you did it ever cause you to bleed from the tip of your penis? – They never managed to get it up through the penis due to the stricture (THAT was a horror story in itself that you can read about here: https://livingwithacatheter.com/my-stricture-of-the-urethra/ There was some blood after all that trauma. But never again after that. They had to put a suprapubic catheter (https://livingwithacatheter.com/what-is-a-suprapubic-catheter/) into me that first day.
I’m really sorry to hear about all the stuff you’re going through. And I totally relate to the PTSD from the pain of the catheter insertion. In my case, the pain was caused because I had a stricture in my urethra. The nurses didn’t even consider that. It wasn’t until the urology doctors got a hold of me that they were able to determine that I had a urethral stricture. Since it doesn’t seem to be all that common, maybe you’ve been unlucky with your doctors? Obviously I can’t know that. But it sounds like none of them have thought to check you for that.
I would go back to a urologist and ask for a retrograde urethrogram. They will put you under an X-ray machine and shoot a contrast solution into your penis up toward your bladder. If there is a stricture, the X-ray will show it. The contrast fluid will be restricted.
They can also simply put a scope with a camera up there from your penis. That will also show if there is a stricture.
Regardless of how, there are ways to find out if yo have a stricture. I would ask them to check.
Good luck! I’d be interested in how it goes for you.
Ken, thanks for the reply. I’m going to follow up with a urologist, but I’m just really scared. I don’t want anything back up there. I have a very small flaccid penis and I feel like there’s only so much it can take. Please let me know how everything goes for you. I will be praying for you. I live in Connecticut. Where do you live? The reason I ask is that I’ve found a decent urologist here, but I may move to North Carolina, eventually. I’m just nervous, though. I did research and I’m not sure there are many great urologists down there.
Ken Theriot says
I’m in San Antonio. My surgery is Tuesday, so I’ll update everyone after it. Good luck!
dan nicholson says
About 3 weeks ago I stumbled on this blog r.e using a cath. valve instead of a bag. First, I am c4-c6 IC about 6.5 years out and have not been using a bag for 5 yeas. I had to figure it out on my own with no direction or help from a major nearby rehab facility. I use a SP catheter.
I was using a two way connector to a piece of cut of silicone tubing controlled with a clamp from a Bard leg bag and a pug at the end.
Thanks to this article I have been using the bard flip and flow valve very successfully and it has made a big difference in my life in a very short time! THANKS.
Ken Theriot says
That is such great news! I’m sooo glad that I could be of help in making your situation a little better!
Thanks for this page, it really saved me. I had a suprapubic catheter put in Sept 5th 2014. The plan was always to use a valve after the surgery, but it wasn’t discovered until the day OF surgery that there was going to be a problem getting the bard flip flo valves. I happened to come across this page at some point doing as much research as I could on suprapubic catheterization. So from the company I had to use due to insurance, I requested some Hollister brand leg bags with the flip/lever valve like you have pictured. They initially sent me bags with strange cap bottoms that I sent back. I have some functionality issues in my hands from peripheral nerve damage, which allowed me to argue for the bags with the flip levers at the bottom. Its worked perfectly!
I have to admit I had issues at first though. I don’t know if they are slightly different depending on the bag. But the very first lever I first sliced off the bag up against the plastic of the connector piece. Then I removed the plastic “sheath” from around that, which had been what connected the valve to the bag. Which resulted in it not making a tight enough seal in my catheter. I found this out the hard way when it leaked in my pants! Luckily I’d had the foresight to wrap some papertowel around it the first time. So I started trimming down the funnel end of the catheter (I also wonder if the brand of catheter matters here, as since then I’ve gotten some that aren’t so funnel shaped) so I could shove it further down for a tighter seal. But it would still leak occasionally. Next up was on top of trimming down the funnel, applying plumbers tape around the plastic threads of the connector. This worked great, but I had concerns about the sterility! I would cut the plumbers tape, thoroughly soak it in hydrogen peroxide (alcohol partially dissolved it), then with 2 sterile tweezers wrap it around the connector and insert. All this happened the first month after my surgery.
After my first catheter change I slice off a new valve, and as I’m slicing off that plastic sheath I suddenly go HMMMMM. So I set it aside, and grabbed another fresh leg bag. Sliced off the valve, left the sheath in place, and BINGO. Fit perfectly, no leaking.
I’ve also gotten creative because I use drainage bags at night, I’m thinking about posting some blog entries somewhere myself to share what I’ve done. But I had tested out connecting the flexible extension tubing that comes with the hollister leg bag (I’m sent kits) to the end of the valve as an extension to help in a public toilet. I’m a wheelchair user, and if I’m having difficulty that day scooting to the front of my chair to get close enough to the toilet, the tubing would work. Anyway so I cut a piece of extension tubing long enough to connect as far down on the valve as it would go; and connect to my night bag with about a 1/2 inch extra inbetween (which was important, if the valve and night bag connector overlap it affects the seal and leaks). This allows me to not have to remove my valve every night, decreasing infection risk and also making things much more convenient. In the morning I just make sure theres no urine sitting in the tubing, close the valve, and twist off the extension tubing. It takes seconds. Say there was a fire (or more frequently, my roommate walks into my bedroom unexpectedly and I need to follow him out immediately…) I don’t have to grab my drainage bag and bring it with, or take the time to disconnect, swab with alcohol, reconnect valve before I can leave.
I also sew, and made a couple items to ease my life. Tiny fleece pockets that cover the valve so I can stick it down inside my pants/underwear without hard plastic digging into my skin painfully. And fleece wraps that are layered, elastic at the short ends, to fold and snap around the night bag connection pieces. In case anything was to leak, the fleece catches it instead of my bedding. And the fleece pads the valve and other hard pieces of plastic from digging into my skin again since I’m a stomach sleeper.
Ken Theriot says
Lin, I’m so glad you were able to make this work for you! You sound pretty resourceful:). For me, it didn’t matter what kind of catheter they gave me (though the last several were all standard Bard Foleys), the flip-valve always fit just fine (assuming there was nothing tugging at it. Like you, my first one didn’t fit and it was because the Urology nurse cut it off the bag, leaving the clear plastic sheath around the stem. That made it too tight. I found later that all I had to do was take a fresh Hollister bag, grab the valve, and just pull SUPER hard for a few seconds. You have to BELIEVE it will pop out:). It always popped out that way with no damage to the stem and no need to cut anything. And the valve just worked at that point.
Good luck going forward, and do share any more innovations you may invent:).
My husband is 96 years old and has recently had a catheter fitted which he will have to wear for the rest of his life.
He uses a Bard leg bag and night bag but is very restless in the night. He cannot use a bag stand because he often gets out of bed during the night and trails the night bag (and stand) along the floor when he walks around. So I put the night bag next to him in bed but most nights he entangles the tube round his legs and it comes adrift. So I fitted a Foley Statlock to the catheter tube to stop him pulling it and another one at the junction of the leg bag and the night bag.
Now whatever punishment he gives the night bag it stays connected to the leg bag during the night.
Ken Theriot says
Thanks for that! Yes, the Statlock (as well as the Grip-loks, if you can get them anymore:-P) is, I think, absolutely vital. It will not only limit the messes, but it is a lot safer. Glad to hear it has helped your husband. Good luck moving forward. It’s a definite adjustment.
mike hartwell says
I was sure I had seen something about how flip flo valves give you a rather unpleasant sensation which Ken referred to as ‘pinching’ at the end of a stream, but I’m damned if I can find it now. Any pointers? Many thanks Mike
Ken Theriot says
I absolutely remember getting those pinches. And I never really found a way to prevent them. It always happened when there was no more pee to “suck” out of the bladder. So a bit of the bladder wall got sucked in. It’s worth noting that I had a suprapubic catheter though. So the tube stuck into the bladder at a very different angle that it would for someone who has a urethral catheter. The latter folks maybe wouldn’t have a problem with the “finishing pinch.”
Stephen Hutchinson says
Do you have any info about the Duette catheter?
Ken Theriot says
I don’t have any news on the Duette. the last I heard they were fighting against much larger corporations and didn’t think they were going to be able to get the Duette shipped outside the US. But I’ll contact them again soon and ask again.
Ken Theriot says
Here is the latest as of Apr 2020:
“We have not had the resources for attaining the regulatory needed for distribution outside of the U.S., while the path should be easy our legal tells us the cost may be 100K.
In the U.S. a prescription is required only for third party billing purposes, so any individual can purchase catheters (including Duette) from a number of online DME’s. Individuals I’ve spoken with recommend shopping around for best pricing and shipping costs and many have shared there can be price gouging when paying personally instead of using a third party payor such as Medicare. The billing code for 100% silicone catheters, Foley and Duette, is A4344. If using a third party payor, there may be a requirement for validating the need for 100% silicone…..such as frequent infections and blockage due to encrustation on the catheter.
Hope this is helpful, please let me know.
Poiesis Medical LLC”